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Monday, 13 May 2019

Oops! The Brain DOES Have An Immune System

[Wake Up World]: The anti-climax of the Human Genome Project, an effort to sequence our entire genetic code, taught us that there was more to the story of our individual uniqueness, our propensity toward health or illness, than was in those 25,000 protein-coding genes.

This somewhat rude awakening gave birth to the field of epigenetics, i.e. to environmental, lifestyle, nutritional, and mind-body factors that are beyond or ‘above’ (epi-) the control of the genes.

We thought that chemicals were only dangerous in big doses.

An entire burgeoning field of toxicology now endorses the role of the endocrine system in the toxic effects of even small doses of chemicals, which can synergize together to wreak havoc in dose ranges as low as parts-per-billion and which regulators still don’t consider in toxicological risk assessments.

We thought that germs were the enemy and that exposure to germs equaled infection.

The emergence of an unstoppable tidal wave of literature on the role of the microbiome has disproven germ-theory and rendered it at best quaintly reductionist.

What about basic anatomy? We must have that down, right?

Wrong.

In a stunning report entitled, Structural and functional features of central nervous system lymphatic vessels, Louveau et al make an announcement about basic anatomy that has eluded scientists and clinicians up until this point.

The brain has a lymphatic system, one of the primary purposes of which is to connect it to the immune system. Which is confirmation that it is not “privileged” as was once assumed. I’ve written before about the discovery of the role for immune messengers in healthy brain modeling, and the bold statement that:

The link between environmental factors, the immune response, and neurological dysfunction is not completely clear at present, but it is receiving increasing attention and support…the sheer number of immune molecules that could be important for nervous system develop­ment and function is staggering. Although much progress has been made in the past 10 years in our appreciation that immune molecules play critical roles in the healthy brain, the large major­ity of immune molecules have not yet been studied for their presence and function in the brain. For the immune molecules that we know are important, almost nothing is understood about their mechanisms of action.”...read more>>>...

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