Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Brain Stuff

Aha! I bet you thought I was just posting a one time blog post full of empty promises didn't you?....Well maybe a little bit, but in my defense I just moved over the weekend so I haven't really had a lot of sit down and ponder time. That being said I have this wonderful 2 hour class that is largely filled with stories and is rather boring. Thus I sit here writing to you, feel honored! Anyway, I won't waste large numbers of words talking about my moving experience because I have an agenda for this post. That post is based in my brain....and your brain and all our brains!

During my second trimester (no i was not pregnant. Its like a semester but we do 3 a year instead of 2, hence the tri part) I was introduced to neuroanatomy by a brilliant man who was truly passionate about what he taught. Since then, I have tried to keep up on the latest research on the nervous system in many different respects.

So true to that, I have been looking into what roles the diet and immune systems play on the brain and vise versa. Recently, a study was published by the University of Virginia School of Medicine that stated the discovery of previously unknown vessels that link the lymphatic system with the brain through the meninges. Basically it was once thought that there was no direct link between the brain and the lymphatic system and when one developed an autoimmune disease (the body attacks itself) it was not linkable to a problem in the brain itself. The evidence of a direct link may provide a new approach to looking at what causes diseases such as MS and Alzheimers. Instead of thinking of the brain as just the control center of the nerves and hormones only, it may be directly linkable to the immune system as well.  I won't go into the specifics here because I don't want to make this post to long. If you would like to read more, I suggest reading this article or the actual study here, keep in mind you will only be able to read the abstract unless you have a subscription to the journal.

Contrary to what many believe, much of the human body and its function is not very well understood and researchers are constantly finding new mechanisms and processes, such as the one mentioned above, and the exciting thing is that as more and more is discovered, we are able to fill in the gaps between symptoms of a disease and the cause. In traditional medicine, the effort has always been to cure the disease after it has occurred or at the very least, minimize the symptoms. As we get closer to the original cause of these diseases, we are be able to reverse the disease or even prevent the disease from occurring at all . In the same way that it was discovered that smoking can cause cancer, AIDS is primarily transferred through sexual intercourse, and scurvy is due to a vitamin C deficiency if we can pinpoint the mechanisms behind neurological and autoimmune disorders we may be able to prevent them.

Thats all for now folks!

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