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

Thursday, August 4, 2016

7T MRI shows MS vascular connection

High powered MRI is allowing us to see the vascular connection to MS.  A recently published study used 7T MRI to compare the lesions of people with MS and those with Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO).  link

21 patients with MS and 21 patients with NMO were imaged.  There was one important difference between the two groups.  Only the patients with MS showed signs of "iron laden lesions" which contained a central vein.  None of the people with NMO showed this.

NMO is a truly autoimmune disease, in which immune cells attack the optic nerve and spine.   In contrast to MS,  NMO has a known antigen, called Aquaporin 4.  In NMO, the immune cells attack this antigen and cause demyelination.  However, there has never been a specific antigen discovered for MS.  In fact, MS lesions are very different from NMO lesions, as high powered MRI is showing us that inside MS lesions, there is a central vein which is allowing blood products, like iron, into brain tissue.

Here is how the researchers describe the difference:

Distinguishing MS from NMO lesions. 
Axial T2-weighted image from a representative patient with MS demonstrating a hyperintense lesion (black arrow) traversed by an ill-defined central venule adjacent to the inferior horn of the lateral ventricles. The lesion appears hypointense on a corresponding T1-weighted MPRAGE image. The lesion shows a hypointense peripheral rim and an iso- to hypointense central core traversed by a well-defined venule on GRE-T2*-weighted image. This lesion is hyperintense on QSM. Hypointense signal intensity within the lesion on GRE-T2*-weighted image and hyperintensity on QSM suggest iron accumulation (upper row). An axial T2-weighted image from a representative NMO lesion reveals 2 round hyperintense lesions (white arrows) in the subcortical WM region. The lesions appear hypointense on T1-weighted and hyperintense on GRE-T2*-weighted images. However, these lesions are isointense and therefore inconspicuous on QSM (lower row). The scale bar is for the QSM image with units of parts per billion.

Looking at the images, we can see the arrows pointing to the MS and NMO lesions.  All the images (on the top for MS and bottom for NMO) are of the same area of brain tissue.   It is the GRE-T2 image which clearly shows the MS lesion has a very small, yet well-defined vein (venule) going through the center.  The NMO lesion does not.  The QSM image shows that around this vein, in the MS patient, there is iron.  The researchers do not say that this is from blood leaking into tissue.  But this is the very obvious inference.  Blood, or heme, contains iron.  Microbleeds into brain tissue have been documented in MS. link   And here, once again, we have more proof.

For those of us who know our history, we remember that Rindfleisch saw the EXACT SAME THING through his microscope in 1863.

If one looks carefully at freshly altered parts of the white matter ...one perceives already with the naked eye a red point or line in the middle of each individual focus,.. the lumen of a small vessel engorged with blood...All this leads us to search for the primary cause of the disease in an alteration of individual vessels and their ramifications; All vessels running inside the foci, but also those which traverse the immediately surrounding but still intact parenchyma are in a state characteristic of chronic inflammation. 
Rindfleisch E. - "Histologisches detail zu der grauen degeneration von gehirn und ruckenmark". Archives of Pathological Anatomy and Physiology. 1863;26:474–483.

CW Adams published on damaged cerebral veins and the deposition of iron from blood in MS brains in 1988.
Yet, even after all the historical evidence, when Dr. Zamboni published on the link between venous disease, iron deposition into tissue, inflammation and MS lesions in his "Big Idea" paper in 2008---he was resoundingly ignored (or worse, mocked) by MS researchers. Here's the history of this research into the central vein sign, iron deposition and MS lesions-- link

Once again, we see the evidence of the vascular connection, in clear, high-powered MRI images. Iron deposited into brain tissue, creating inflammatory lesions, all around a small, central vein.

At a certain point, you simply have to say---

My family reached that point almost a decade ago, and because of this, my husband remains healthy. The evidence continues. There is a vascular connection to MS.
Whether or not MS specialists and immunologists will ever acknowledge this fact and help patients is moot. It is up to all of us to educate, inform, encourage, and move the research forward.

Be well,


  1. Thank you from UK for sharing Joan .

  2. Joan, can you relate this finding somehow to the vascular connection to MS? I find it very interesting.

    1. thanks so much for finding this, Monika! It's from Dr. Nedergaard at the U of R. We discussed CCSVI and slowed venous flow over a year ago. Her lab is the one that discovered the (g)lymphatic cleansing system, and she is doing some of the most exciting brain studies in the world--all with mice, but still extremely important. The mechanism her lab is describing allows red blood cells to actually change shape to fit more thru capillaries when there is a detection of low oxygen. Notice that these dips in O2 were activity based, and only transient. http://www.cell.com/neuron/abstract/S0896-6273(16)30401-9?_returnURL=http%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS0896627316304019%3Fshowall%3Dtrue There is also research at Columbia University which shows that the cerebral vascular endothelium is responsible for sensing neuronal needs for oxygen, and responding accordingly. http://engineering.columbia.edu/columbia-engineers-provide-new-insight-how-brain-regulates-its-blood-flow
      I believe we will soon learn that there is a coordinated effort between the blood and the endothelium to control cerebral bloodflow (perfusion) and oxygenation of the brain. Neurodegenerative diseases most likely stem from a breakdown of this communication. We're getting there, thanks to these brilliant scientists (both women, I might add!)

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  4. CCSVI is a treatable congenital Scientifically Confirmed Recognized Medical Condition, Scientifically proven to have a Significant role in so called Multiple Sclerosis, and plays part in 43 other so called Neurological affliction ! THAT IS WHAT I SAY ! Probably 100 times a day !!

    1. I hear you, Martin! And I know you're right...my husband is living proof that correction of CCSVI through venoplasty can heal the brain. He's had no new lesions and a reversal of gray matter atrophy since his procedure in 2009. Keep saying it, and let's get the scientific information out there.

  5. I have done a blog so that many know what have had to endure with MS here in the UK speakingtree.in/blog/multiple-sclerosis-640656 … … … … My blog with what have endured in UK #MSblog #MS I have been badly treated

  6. Here in UK is the worst site ever for MS who are supposed to be MS researchers highly paid also who post such horrid posts have never ever trusted these either who are admins or ones who post lots of nasty remarks about MS http://multiple-sclerosis-research.blogspot.com/2013/11/alice-in-wonderland-and-ccsvi.html