Welcome! This blog contains research & information on lifestyle, nutrition and health for those with MS, as well as continuing information on the understanding of the endothelium and heart-brain connection. This blog is informative only--all medical decisions should be discussed with your own physicians.

The posts are searchable---simply type in your topic of interest in the search box at the top left.

Almost all of MS research is initiated and funded by pharmaceutical companies. This maintains the EAE mouse model and the auto-immune paradigm of MS, and continues the 20 billion dollar a year MS treatment industry. But as we learn more about slowed blood flow, gray matter atrophy, and environmental links to MS progression and disability--all things the current drugs do not address--we're discovering more about how to help those with MS.

To learn how this journey began, read my first post from August, 2009. Be well! Joan

Sunday, October 11, 2015

A Single Drop of Blood...

....is all it takes to create MS.
Forget about requiring a rogue virus or some deranged auto immune reaction.
You don't need to inject mouse brains with foreign antigens and create EAE.

Just one bit of blood on brain tissue activates the immune system and creates MS demyelination.


From the Gladstone Institute Press Release:
In the current study, published in Nature Communications, the scientists created a new animal model of disease to determine if BBB (blood-brain barrier) leakage can cause autoimmunity. They discovered that injecting just one drop of blood into the brain set off the brain's immune response, kick-starting a chain reaction that resulted in inflammation and myelin damage.

These findings offer a completely new way of thinking about how the immune system attacks the brain--it puts the blood in the driver's seat of the onset and progression of disease," says senior author Katerina Akassoglou, PhD, a senior investigator at the Gladstone Institutes and professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco. "This opens up the possibility for new types of therapies that target blood coagulation factors, upstream of autoimmune processes."
"Our results provide the first evidence that blood promotes T cell responses against the brain," says first author Jae Kyu Ryu, PhD, a staff research scientist at the Gladstone Institutes. "Not only did we confirm that the presence of blood in the brain recruits peripheral immune cells to the area, which is sufficient to cause myelin destruction, we also identified fibrinogen as the critical protein driving this process."
"These findings question a long-held paradigm that myelin-specific T cells initiate inflammation in the brain through activation of microglia and brain macrophages," says Scott Zamvil, MD, PhD, a professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco and co-author on the paper. "This study demonstrates that the original paradigm may also occur in reverse. Namely, initial activation of microglia and brain macrophages may activate T cells."


Why didn't we know this before? Shouldn't we know this???

Well, we do. We see this reaction in stroke and vascular dementia in humans. And stroke specialists have published on the immune system response to blood in the brain. But MS specialists don't talk to other doctors, and they have chosen to stick to the EAE autoimmune mouse model--come hell or high water-- and consistently ignore the vascular evidence. Here's a blog post I wrote about the autoimmune response in stroke back in 2010.

You'd think this idea of blood in brain tissue would have been tested by now, especially since we know that people with MS have microbleeds in their brains, as seen on 7T MRI. Dr. Yulin Ge discussed this at the 2014 ISNVD conference. People with MS have tiny, pinpoint bleeds in their brains, only seen on the most powerful MRIs. Blood is not supposed to breach the blood brain barrier. But for some reason, in MS, it does.

In 2015 we finally have an actual animal model, created by the innovative Gladstone Institutes (go, Silicon Valley!), demonstrating that injecting one single drop of blood into the brain begins an "immune response akin to MS."

The Gladstone Institute has been honing in on the blood for several years now. Dr. Katerina Akassoglou has published in the past decade on how leaking fibrinogen, a clotting protein found in blood, can trigger inflammation in the brain. http://www.nih.gov/news/health/nov2012/ninds-27.htm

Dr. Akassoglou's premise has been that fibrinogen causes neuronal damage to the MS brain. With this current study, Dr. Akasssoglou and her colleagues saw the actual result of this leakage--activation of the immune system.
I would like to suggest that instead of rushing off to create the next MS drug bonanza--based on coagulation factors and blocking fibrinogen-- perhaps researchers would like to revisit MS disease etiology? Perhaps it is time to reconsider the vascular connection to MS? To study how altered venous hemodynamics might be affecting the endothelial wall of vessels, and creating permeability?

Maybe we should figure out what is causing these microbleeds in the MS brain, and why fibrinogen is there in the first place?

Want to cure MS? Let's discover the cause of MS.

Here is Dr. Yulin Ge's description of tiny micro bleeds seen in MS brains in vivo, with 7T MRI.
These pinpoint drops of blood precede demyelination.

Dr. Mark Haacke's presentation on SWI technology and imaging the MS brain is also a good place to start.

Or how about Dr. Paolo Zamboni's "Big Idea" paper from 2006, where he outlines the similarities of MS and venous disease? http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1633548/

In the past year, we have learned that the brain has an immune system and lymph vessels--that the brain's immune privilege is a myth. http://ccsviinms.blogspot.com/2015/06/rewrite-textbooks.html

And this week, we learn that a single drop of blood in the brain can cause MS---just like the micro bleeding seen on MRI.

We are in the midst of a huge paradigm shift in MS research.

Here's the preliminary program for the 2016 ISNVD conference in NYC next April. Lots of discussion on microvasculature imaging in MS. And Dr. Yulin Ge, Dr. Mark Haacke and Dr. Paolo Zamboni will be presenting! The keynote speaker will be the scientist who discovered the brain's lymphatic vessels, Dr. Jonathan Kipnis.
 Please come, MS specialists and researchers---I guarantee you will learn something.

Let's not let this moment pass us by. Get this research to your local universities.
Tweet about it, share it in your community. Ask your MS Society to fund further research into the vascular connection. Support groups like the ISNVD. www.isnvd.org Educate yourself and others in the MS community.

The vascular connection to MS is real.

It's as real as a single drop of blood.



  1. Thank you Joan. I am so glad you are part of my fatigue free, life!
    This is an awesome write up and I do hope many share in order to turn the nay Sayers into believers ... finally.

  2. Thanks for the great information. With the recent ms findings, ive recently joined the "vascular connection" camp (vs. autoimmune) and my wheels are spinning trying to put all the pieces of the puzzle together about how MS occurs and what our solutions are.

    1. Welcome, Suzanne! The thing is--it doesn't have to be vascular camp vs. immune....because the endothelium is the connection between both. What I think is that we need to consider it all. The immune system responds to lowered oxygen levels in stroke, and actually does the same destruction to myelin--but no one calls that reaction "autoimmune." It's just an inflammatory immune reaction. Here's my program I created for my husband to address this---he's been on it 8 years now. No MS progression, a reversal of symptoms--he's still able to jog and work full days. Hope it can help! http://ccsvi.org/index.php/helping-myself/endothelial-health

    2. Thank you for the link to the endothelial health site. I found this article and that site very well written, informative and helpful.

    3. Thanks, Terry! Understanding the MS disease process became vital to my family, after my husband was diagnosed with MS in 2007. It was his presentation--with petechiae, high CrP levels, and hypercoagulation--which sent me to the library and pubmed. Treating his vascular disease (stenosed jugular veins) and changing his lifestyle with the program I created have helped him remain MS progression free. Jeff and I want to share this information and help others---so glad you found this helpful. all best, Joan

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  4. After my "Liberation Treatment" in July 2010, in Lingen (Germany), on 5 severe 80-90% blockages in Left and Richt Jugular veins, and 1x40% in Brachiocephalic vein, and Re-stenosis after 4 weeks,
    I suspect that during sleep, while Horizontal, there is a Re-flux of De-Oxygenized blood towards my brain.
    My wife, our children, my family and neighboars noticed a Huge positive differende after ballooning with great positive results.
    CCSVI in combination with Chronic Hypoxia, Hypoxemia, Hypoperfusion, MÁY contribute to Cell-death and resulting in M.S.
    I'm a Dr. Zamboni fan ever since,


  5. Very informative info like these segregated at one place is rare to find on net. A very focused and upto the point article.

  6. Very interesting! So....what about primary progressive MS?

    1. Hi Robbie--PPMS patients were looked at in a recent study and cerebral microbleeds were shown to be related to increased disability. It's important that studies are done on 7TMRI, as 3T is just showing us the tip of the iceberg. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27308776
      As we learn more about how thalmic atrophy (neuronal death in gray matter) is related to PPMS disease progression, it's important to understand that blood in brain tissue does not only cause white matter lesions, it causes oxidative stress and death of neurons. There's a very strong link.