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 18, 2016


The European Committee for Treatment and Research in MS (ECTRIMS) is gathering for their yearly conference in London this September.link I thought it might be interesting to see if any researchers are going outside the EAE autoimmune model of MS, to discuss the connection of MS to the vascular system, as there have been many breakthroughs in this area during the past year, thanks to 7 Tesla MRI and published research on the heart brain connection, endothelial dysfunction, coagulation cascade activation, microbleeds and hypoperfusion in MS.  

Using the search term "vascular",  I found one reference.

Under the Teaching Course heading of "MS Brain Health", which is being chaired by Dr. Giovannoni of London (oh, the irony!), Dr. Ruth Ann Marrie from Canada will be presenting on her research regarding vascular commorbidities in MS.  link  Dr. John Saxton from Newcastle, UK, will also be discussing "Lifestyle Modifications" in MS.  

This area of discussion is new to ECTRIMS.  MS researchers are loath to acknowledge any connection of the MS disease process to vascular health.  The language they use to broach this subject shows just how reticent they are to give up any ground to vascular specialists--just notice the wording of the paragraph below.  But they have to talk about this now, as the science is in, and the elephant in the room must be addressed.  The heart and brain are connected.

Although multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory neurodegenerative disease of the central nervous system numerous systemic and lifestyle factors affect MS outcomes. In summary Brain Health refers to a holistic approach to the management of multiple sclerosis that focuses on MS-specific, and MS non-specific, factors that are modifiable. An important aspect of brain health is the empowerment of people with the disease to make them understand that there is a lot they can do themselves to self-manage their own disease. The course will review the philosophical underpinnings of brain health and the shift to treating MS more actively and to a target. To optimise outcomes for people with MS we have to actively monitor the disease. An important part of brain health is the screening for, and the active management of, comorbidities, or other diseases, which have been shown to have a negative impact on MS disease outcomes. Examples include smoking, hypertension, metabolic syndrome and obesity. As part of managing MS, and comorbidities, people with the disease need to adopt a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a healthy diet and good sleep hygiene. The lifestyle issues not only have the potential to improve MS outcomes, but may improve wellness of people with MS. At the end of the teaching course attendees will know about brain health and how to optimise MS outcomes. They will know how to screen for, diagnose and treat the common comorbidities and will know how important it is to address lifestyle issues when treating people with MS.

There was an interesting poster on coagulation factors elevated in both RRMS and SPMS by Kerstin Gobel  link 

But sadly, this is all there is on the ECTRIMS site regarding the connection of MS to vascular health. Using the following search terms, I found nothing on the endothelium, cerebral microbleeds, venous hypertension, fibrinogen, aerobic exercise, nitric oxide, epigenetics, environmental factors.  There were a few scant mentions of Vitamin D or cardiovascular lifestyle factors.  And CCSVI is gone.  

I'm not sure how ECTRIMS can continue to call itself a research organization, when all of the presentations are focused on disease modifying drug studies and the EAE animal model of MS, but there you have it.  MS is now a 20 billion dollar a year industry, and the gate keepers want to keep it that way.  Afterall, it's pharma that throws this party every year.   

In the meantime, do all you can to help yourself by optimizing vascular health with exercise, whole food nutrition, smoking cessation, Vitamin D optimization, and good sleep.  All part of the Endothelial Health Program.

When this gang goes to the trouble of mentioning it, you have to figure there's probably something there.


  1. Joan you are correct in saying these words .One mention of the ‪#‎HeartBrainConnection‬ is not enough. ‪#‎ECTRIMS16.

  2. Professor Giovannoni has received personal compensation for participating on Advisory Boards in relation to clinical trial design, trial steering committees and data and safety monitoring committees from: Abbvie, Bayer-Schering Healthcare, Biogen-Idec, Canbex, Eisai, Elan, Fiveprime, Genzyme, Genentech, GSK, GW Pharma, Ironwood, Merck-Serono, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche, Sanofi- Aventis, Synthon BV, Teva, UCB Pharma and Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Giovannoni is strongly opposed to CCSVI saying there is "no evidence" for it, he has blinders on. Yes, it is ironic that he is chairing the "MS Brain Health".

    1. You got it, Flo! None of the drug companies which support Dr. Giovannoni have any published evidence to prove that their products maintain "brain health." The only correlate to disability and disease cessation is the maintaining of gray matter. And not one of these drug companies has proven their products do this. But we do know that exercise and other lifestyle modifications can not only maintain, but increase gray matter structures. Keep getting the word out there.