Welcome! This blog contains research, information on lifestyle, nutrition, dietary supplements and health for those with MS, as well as continuing information on the understanding of CCSVI and cerebral hypoperfusion. 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 immune paradigm of MS, and continues the 15 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

ECTRIMS '16

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.
Joan


Monday, August 8, 2016

CCSVI included in Oxford Textbook of Vascular Surgery

"The Oxford Textbook series is the foremost international textbook of medicine. Unrivalled in its coverage of the scientific aspects and clinical practice of medicine and its subspecialties, it is a fixture in the offices and wards of physicians around the world."

The new edition of the Oxford Textbook of Vascular Surgery, edited by Matthew M. Thompson, professor of vascular surgery at St. George's Medical School in London, includes articles from "130 global experts."  The new edition features a full chapter on Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency (CCSVI).  Authored by Dr. Paolo Zamboni, Sergio Gianesini and Erica Menegatti from the University of Ferrara, this chapter is included in a section on diseases of veins and lymphatics.  link

While MS specialists and neuroimmunologists have disparaged and intentionally misrepresented Dr. Paolo Zamboni's vascular studies, he has continued to publish, undaunted.  He, along with the International Society of Neurovascular Disease,  have explored how the venous system affects neurodegenerative disease.  He has improved cerebral venous return using open surgery and venoplasty, and has documented benefits in the health of his patients.  He has created a brand new CCSVI diagnostic center at the University of Ferrara, while collaborating with international space organizations, to understand the affects of microgravity on the venous system.  As I have said before, if rocket scientists collaborate with Dr. Zamboni, why can't MS neurologists?  If the Oxford Textbook editors consider his research expert and important enough to include in this new publication, why the continued naysaying from neurology?

Heartfelt thanks to Dr. Paolo Zamboni and the entire vascular department at the University of Ferrara.  Thank you for continuing your research and exploration, even while confronted with unprecedented hysteria and vitriol from the neurological community.

CCSVI exists.  Slowed venous return to the heart harms the central nervous system, just as slowed venous return harms every other major organ in the human body.   This is scientific fact.  Whether or not MS specialists choose to acknowledge the science remains a moot point.  Vascular specialists understand this, and will continue to treat patients and push the research forward.  This is how medical science evolves, one peer-reviewed publication at a time, until the stack becomes undeniable.  Financial incentives, pharmaceutical payouts,  cognitive dissonance, and territorial medical silos cannot stop it.

Share this information with vascular specialists at your local universities and hospitals.  Fund research and support groups like the ISNVD.  Insist that "charities" and organizations who purport to be helping people with MS include vascular specialists on their medical advisory boards.  Question the status quo.

And most importantly, do all you can to improve your own heart and endothelial health.  Because this is real-- the heart and brain are connected-- and there are things you can do today to help yourself.  No prescription necessary.

Be well,
Joan







Saturday, August 6, 2016

Russia? сюрприз!


I recently found these new publications on PubMed.  Only the abstracts are available, as the articles are in Russian.


Multiple sclerosis and endothelial dysfunction (a review).
[Article in Russian]
Spirina NN, Spirin NN, Fadeeva OA, Shipova EG, Boĭko AN.
The endothelium plays an important role in the maintenance of vascular homeostasis, the tone and anatomical structure of the vascular wall. It is an essential component of the blood-brain barrier. In adverse conditions, damaged endothelium initiates many pathological processes in the human organism and plays a key role in the pathogenesis of a number of systemic diseases including multiple sclerosis. In this review, we discussed in detail the concepts of structural and functional features of a healthy endothelium and endothelial dysfunction, and present the basic theory of the damage mechanism of the blood-brain barrier and the role of endothelial cells, adhesion molecules, cerebral hypoperfusion in multiple sclerosis.


von Willebrand factor and adhesion molecules in patients with multiple sclerosis.
[Article in Russian]
Spirin NN1, Spirina NN, Boĭko AN
Based on a role of certain adhesion molecules and vascular endothelial damage in multiple sclerosis (MS), we explored C-reactive protein, von Willebrand factor, matrix metalloproteinase-9, sICAM-1, sPECAM-1, E-selectin and P-selectin in the blood of patients. One group of the patients received pathogenic therapy. There was the increase in the level of the von Willebrand factor in patients who did not receive the therapy. The levels MMP-9 and sE-selectin were correlated with the high activity of the disease. The authors suggest the presence of the endothelial dysfunction in some patients. MMP9 and sE-selectin may be considered as potential markers of the activity of multiple sclerosis.

I searched pubmed for Russian publications because this blog has been receiving an inordinate amount of traffic from Russia.  In the past several months, there have been hundreds of thousands of hits. I've now have more readers from Russia than the US or Canada.   I'm honestly not sure what this is all about, and whether these might be bots, or another variety of nefarious internet activity.

But I'm hoping it's more about actual Russians wanting to understand the vascular connection to MS, and being sent here by internet search engines.

So, if any of my Russian readers would like to pop on and say hi (or Здравствуйте) in the comments---I'd be honored. I first noticed endothelial dysfunction, high SED rate, C-reactive protein and hypercoagulation in my husband's serum results back in 2007, and created a lifestyle program to help address it.  link I keep writing all these years later, and my tracking results show that people all over the world are reading this blog.

Both sides of my father's family emigrated to America from Russia in the early 1900s.  They were escaping the pogroms and seeking religious tolerance and work opportunities.  I hope to visit their homeland under better circumstances, to honor my family's hard work and courage.  The world is much smaller today, thanks to our internet access.

I'd suggest that any interested researchers who visit this blog contact the ISNVD  www.isnvd.org  and submit your studies.  We're together in wanting to understand the vascular connection to MS--a disease which affects people all over the world.  Especially those of us in developed countries above and below the 40th parallel.

всего хорошего,
Joan