Important Brain-Immune System Link Discovery

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As someone with ME, and as someone with a daughter on the Autism Spectrum, this discovery is one of the most important medical events in recent history. Times are changing and researchers are finally picking up the pace studying neuro-immune issues. As my ME progresses, the hope for better understanding of the disease and better treatments may see fruition. Many with ME, MS, and Autism, to mention some of the many misunderstood neuro-immune diseases suffered by millions, might see a flicker at the end of the tunnel.

Sunshinebright

“They’ll have to change the textbooks.”  This statement, by Kevin Lee, PhD, Chairman of the UVA Department of Neuroscience, is the result of a study at the University of Virginia School of Medicine.   The study, awarded to the UVA Health System and funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has shown there are heretofore undetected lymphatic vessels connecting the brain to the immune system.

Maps of the lymphatic system: old (left) and updated to reflect UVA's discovery. Maps of the lymphatic system: old (left) and updated to reflect UVA’s discovery.

Researchers knew there was a connection between the brain and immune system, but the vessels were completely hidden.  Now, there are many new angles to exploring neurological disease.

This is a stunning discovery.  It is difficult to explain how these vessels in the brain were overlooked when the lymphatic system was explored.  New avenues of discovery are now possible and beneficiaries might be MS, Autism, Alzheimer’s and maybe even…

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Entertaining Videos to Start Your Weekend

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Very cute and amusing. Perfect for the “watch during commercials” crowd. (You know you’re one of them!)

From ReShareWorthy:

James is 3 years old and is already an action movie star! James just does regular kid stuff and somehow they turn into amazing adventures! These videos are just awesome and made me smile so much!

“I have a grapple gun!”

“Oops!”

“3 … 2 … 1″

“It’s kind of like a real gun!”

“Wait!”

James’ dad is Daniel Hashimoto, who is an animator at Dreamworks. That explains a lot, doesn’t it? 🙂

If you enjoyed those, and have more time, watch this longer video, also from ReShareWorthy:

 

 

Time Travel (Without David Tennant, *sigh*)

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Go back in time with Street View

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 at 6:00 AM

If you’ve ever dreamt of being a time traveler like Doc Brown, now’s your chance. Starting today, you can travel to the past to see how a place has changed over the years by exploring Street View imagery inGoogle Maps for desktop. We’ve gathered historical imagery from past Street View collections dating back to 2007 to create this digital time capsule of the world.

If you see a clock icon in the upper left-hand portion of a Street View image, click on it and move the slider through time and select a thumbnail to see that same place in previous years or seasons.

Now with Street View, you can see a landmark’s growth from the ground up, like the Freedom Tower in New York City or the 2014 World Cup Stadium in Fortaleza, Brazil. This new feature can also serve as a digital timeline of recent history, like the reconstruction after the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami inOnagawa, Japan. You can even experience different seasons and see what it would be like to cruise Italian roadways in both summer and winter.

Construction of the Freedom Tower, New York City

Destruction in Onagawa, Japan after the 2011 earthquake

Forget going 88 mph in a DeLorean—you can stay where you are and use Google Maps to virtually explore the world as it is—and as it was. Happy (time) traveling!

Good News Report from the White House, USA, Re: Climate Changes

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Here is some good news out of Washington for a change! And this government website (linked to in the blog) is nice and concise! Encore! Encore!

Sunshinebright

The following is the report, with video, explaining how our government is meeting the challenge of climate change:

“Today, we released the third National Climate Assessment report, by far the most comprehensive look ever at climate change impacts in the United States.

Based on four years of work by hundreds of experts from government, academia, corporations, and public-interest organizations, the Assessment confirms abundant data and examples that climate change isn’t some distant threat — it’s affecting us now.

Not only are the planet and the nation warming on average, but a number of types of extreme weather events linked to climate change have become more frequent or intense in many regions, including heat waves, droughts, heavy downpours, floods, and some kinds of destructive storms.

The good news is that there are sensible steps that we can take to protect this country and the planet.

Those steps include, importantly, the three…

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Important ME Research That You Should Be Aware Of

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Widespread neuroinflammation

Posted on 9 Apr 2014 by www.meresearch.org.uk


Transaxial slice of the brain taken with PET, by Jens Langner
There are good reasons for thinking that central nervous system pathology is important in ME/CFS, and some indications that inflammation of the brain (neuroinflammation) might be involved. However, proving the existence of neuroinflammation requires specific neuroimaging methods, and these had never been applied to ME/CFS patients – until Japanese researchers bit the bullet.

The team at Osaka City University in Japan, which has been studying ME/CFS for many years, have used PET imaging to try to obtain direct evidence of neuroinflammation. In essence, they measured the density of the ‘translocator protein’ (TSPO) produced when certain brain cells are activated – it’s the activation of these cells which indicates that inflammation is taking place. In this case, the brain cells were microglia (thought to be the main form of active immune defense in the central nervous system) and astrocytes (the most numerous brain cells, with functions including nutrient supply, repair, and nerve impulse transmission). The researchers recruited 9 people with ME/CFS (Fukuda 1994 and ME-ICC 2011 definitions) and 10 healthy controls, who underwent PET scanning involving the injection of a tracer followed by dynamic scanning over 60 min. Participants also completed questionnaires about symptoms, including fatigue, pain, and neurocognitive problems.

Their report in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine reveals that protein levels (indicating inflammation) were higher in ME/CFS patients than controls in “widespread brain regions”, including the cingulate cortex (199% higher), hippocampus (81%), thalamus (66%), midbrain (47%), and pons (45%). And, intriguingly, protein levels in some brain regions were significantly associated with the severity of particular symptoms; some of these associations were quite striking (despite the small number of patients), as in the correlation between protein level and cognitive impairment scores (r=0.94, p<0.0002).

The authors conclude that “neuroinflammation is present in widespread brain areas” in ME/CFS patients compared with healthy people. As they point out, this may be due to an immune response to an underlying infectious process, or possibly to over-activation of nerve cells (for whatever reason). There are two things to bear in mind, however. First, numbers are small (in essence, this is pilot data), and would need replication – one swallow doesn’t make a summer, and one scientific report does not convince, though it might fascinate. Second, protein levels were relatively low in absolute terms, raising intricate methodological issues associated with standardization in PET imaging. The authors are to explore this particular aspect in the next phase of their work on ME/CFS patients, an international collaboration study that will use a different, second-generation tracer and have a refined methodology.

If these dramatic and fascinating results can be reproduced, objective evidence of an inflammatory process in the brain of people with ME/CFS will become readily available for diagnostic and treatment-monitoring purposes, with enormous consequences for patients and their families.

A NEW PROJECT BY DR. LIPKIN – VERY EXCITING!

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From: http://cfstreatment.blogspot.com/

ONWARD THROUGH THE FOG

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Microbe Discovery Project Launches Crowdfunding for ME/CFS Microbiome Study

 (The following message comes from the Microbe Discovery Project. To find out more, go HERE.)
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“I think that the microbiome is going to be where the action is [in ME/CFS] … I am really eager to pursue that work.” ~Dr. W. Ian Lipkin

WE CAN DO IT!

In the past year our ME/CFS community has shown that it can rapidly raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for specific projects. After patients and supporters in Norway – with a population sixty times smaller than that of the US – raised $430,000 in 90 days for a clinical trial of Rituximab, a slew of US campaigns began crowdfunding and reached or exceeded their targets at astonishing speeds: $213,000 in 31 days for the documentary film Canary in a Coal Mine; $18,000 in 35 days for the documentary The Blue Ribbon; and $150,000 in 75 days for an Open Medicine Foundation study of Vitamin B12.

So, we can do this and we can do it quickly. Please donate now, from any country, so we can all benefit from the results of the study; Dr. Lipkin’s prestige is such that his findings will have international impact and help all of us. Tell your friends, your family and your local community to donate and spread the word.

Together, we can do this!

[Watch Dr. Lipkin describe this project here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_v3bfbBupA]

ME/CFS: a devastating neuro-immune disease as disabling as multiple sclerosis, affecting one million Americans and 17 million people worldwide.

The study: a cutting-edge hunt for the causes of ME/CFS in the gut “microbiome” – the bacteria, viruses and fungi in the digestive system – led by “the world’s most celebrated virus hunter”, Dr W. Ian Lipkin at the world’s largest and most advanced center for microbe discovery and diagnosis at Columbia University in New York.

The payoff: a world-class study with the potential to swiftly lead to treatments using drugs, probiotics or exclusion diets.

Our challenge: to raise $1.27 million (£760,000; €910,000) to fund the project and do it fast! The scientists are ready to go and can complete and publish the study within 12 months. The sooner we fund it, the sooner it starts.

Donate HERE.

CENTER FOR SOLUTIONS FOR ME/CFS

Research center at Columbia University, committed to understanding the pathogenesis of ME/CFS.

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