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

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

BDNF, exercise and the vascular endothelium

Another new paper showing the vascular connection to MS.

New research shows that a 24 week resistance and endurance exercise program increases brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in people with MS.

At baseline, the BDNF concentration of persons with RRMS was 21% lower than healthy controls. Following 24 weeks of intervention, changes in BDNF concentrations differed significantly between exercise group and sedentary group.  In particular, within exercise group, BDNF concentrations increased 13.9% ± 8.8%, whereas it decreased 10.5% ± 4.1% within sendentary group. 

BDNF is called the "Miracle-Gro" for the brain.  It is a very important cerebrovascular protein which protects neurons and allows for neurogenesis, or the growth of new neurons.  BDNF is vital to learning, memory and executive function.

Lower levels of BDNF are linked to Alzheimer's, dementia, depression, diabetes---and now, Multiple Sclerosis.

Cardiovascular researchers have known that exercise increases BDNF levels for quite some time.  Why?  Because BDNF is created by healthy vascular endothelial cells.  Cardiovascular health allows for BDNF creation.  How?  Shear stress--which is caused by blood flow over the lining of our blood vessels--activates the endothelium, and allows for BDNF secretion.
An active, moving body with an active, pumping heart is essential to the brain.

When will the tipping point occur?  When will MS specialists refer to the vascular connection to Multiple Sclerosis and begin to look at the endothelium?  When will they prescribe cardiovascular fitness to their patients?   When will they change the dialogue, to include heart health?

Still waiting for them---but you don't have to.
Move as much as you are able.  Incorporate an exercise program, and increase your own BDNF levels today.