Please visit our MS learning channel on Youtube, which provides hundreds of topics from our education programs, that were video-recorded and archived here: www.youtube.com/msviewsandnews -- Be empowered with MS news by registering with us: www.register.msviewsandnews.org

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Disclaimer: 'MS Views and News' DOES NOT endorse any products or services found on this blog. It is up to you to seek advice from your healthcare provider. The intent of this blog is to provide information on various medical conditions, medications, treatments, and procedures for your personal knowledge and to keep you informed of current health-related issues. It is not intended to be complete or exhaustive, nor is it a substitute for the advice of your physician. Should you or your family members have any specific medical problem, seek medical care promptly.

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Help Others Recognize MS Awareness Week

This month, Representative Barbara Lee (CA-9) and Senator Bob Casey (PA) will introduce a resolution to formally recognize MS Awareness Week. Take action today and urge your lawmakers to support MS Awareness Week.
MS Awareness Week will be recognized from March 8 to 12. Every year, the MS Coalition - an affiliation of independent MS organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life for those living with MS - joins together to recognize, support, and celebrate MS Awareness Week.
The MS Awareness Week resolution stresses the following important goals of MS Awareness Week: reaffirming our nation's commitment to creating a world free of MS, recognizing people living with MS, and saluting the health care professionals and medical researchers who continue to work towards a world free of MS. The resolution is a true indicator of the collective and bold support for the MS community.
Make sure that your Members of Congress join the MS movement. Take action today and send a letter to your Representative and Senators today, asking each to co-sponsor the MS Awareness Week bill.
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Australia Blocking Cell Movement for Cancer and Multiple Sclerosis

February 12, 10:03 AMLima Multiple Sclerosis ExaminerLori Friend

Shaun McColl and other researchers at the University of Adelaide in Australia have identified molecular receptors, a specialized cell or group of nerve endings that respond to sensory stimuli, on surface cells that help cells migrate to sites where they can cause disease. They are finding new ways to block those movements in the body.

Movements that can cause autoimmune diseases and the spreading of cancer.

Professor McColl is the Head of Chemokine Biology, Deputy Head of the School of Molecular and Biomedical Science and Deputy Executive Dean of the FAculty of Sciences at the University of Adelaide.

With his amazing resume and the successful ability of the University of Adelaide's to attract funding, Professor McColl and his team where able to identify a series of receptors in multiple sclerosis (MS) and have developed what could be therapeutic drugs that could control the disease. Along with other autoimmune diseases as well.

"A number of diseases like cancer and autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and arthritis, involve the inappropriate migration of cells," says Professor McColl. "Our research shows that these receptors which help the cells migrate can be blocked pharmacologically, preventing the cell migration which causes the disease."


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Friday, February 12, 2010

Tysabri (Natalizumab): Update of Healthcare Professional Information - "IRIS"

source: FDA.gov

Audience: Neurological healthcare professionals, patients


[Posted 02/05/2010] FDA notified healthcare professionals and patients that the risk of developing progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) increases with the number of Tysabri infusions received.


This new safety information, based on reports of 31 confirmed cases of PML received by the FDA as of January 21, 2010, will now be included in the Tysabri drug label and patient Medication Guide.


Information about the occurrence of Immune Reconstitution Inflammatory Syndrome (IRIS) in patients who have developed PML and subsequently discontinued Tysabri has also been added to the drug label.


IRIS is a rare condition characterized by a severe inflammatory response that can occur during or following immune system recovery, causing an unexpected decline in a patient’s condition after return of immune function.


Based on the available information, FDA believes that the clinical benefits of Tysabri continue to outweigh the potential risks. Revisions to the drug label and patient Medication Guide, with the continued use of the TOUCH Prescribing Program, are intended to maximize the safe use of Tysabri and the identification of new PML cases.


[02/05/2010 - Drug Safety Communication - FDA]



See other articles on this SUBJECT:


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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Multiple Sclerosis related - Buffalo CCSVI Study Results Revealed; A Significant Step on the Journey Towards a Cure?

Written by Marc Stecker - "The Wheelchair Kamikaze"
February 10, 2010
Gray After months of anticipation by the worldwide MS community, the results of the University at Buffalo's CCSVI imaging study were disclosed today (click here for report). While they may not be quite as dramatic as some patients had hoped, the results do show an unambiguous link between the vascular abnormalities known as CCSVI and Multiple Sclerosis. (For those readers unfamiliar with CCSVI, click here)

The Buffalo study of 500 subjects showed that 56.4% of the MS patients imaged suffered from a narrowing of their extracranial veins (CCSVI), while 22.4% of healthy test subjects also exhibited such narrowing. This contrasts markedly with the over 95% to 100% correlation found in the smaller unblinded studies previously reported on by the founder of the CCSVI theory, Dr. Paolo Zamboni, who also found no evidence of such abnormalities in healthy control subjects. There were several additional small studies done elsewhere that also had reported a CCSVI-MS correlation of over 90%.

All participants in the Buffalo study underwent ultrasound (Doppler) scans of the head and neck, with some also being imaged with MR venograms. Of the subjects studied, 10.2% were borderline for CCSVI, which allows for some variance in the interpretation of the final numbers.

Upon first look, the much lower correlation between MS and CCSVI shown in the Buffalo study when compared to previous studies may seem disappointing, but in my opinion the less dramatic numbers may actually give the CCSVI theory greater scientific credibility.

MS is an extremely heterogeneous disease, meaning that the symptoms and clinical presentations exhibited can vary widely from patient to patient. This has led some researchers to conjecture that what we now call Multiple Sclerosis may in fact be a collection of different maladies that share common symptoms and markers. This could explain the wide variance in effectiveness seen in the current arsenal of MS treatments.

Continue to read Marc's story by clicking here.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Consider the inspiring story of Sylvia Lawry, the founder of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

What is a challenge—a roadblock or an opportunity? It's all in your point of view. Sometimes, a challenge, a frustration or a source of stress can energize us to think differently, discover the unexpected and accomplish great things. Consider the inspiring story of Sylvia Lawry, the founder of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

When Sylvia Lawry's brother was diagnosed with MS in 1937, she was frustrated. She wanted to learn more about MS but couldn't find information about his condition. She placed an ad in The New York Times to try to find anyone who may have recovered from MS. When she received more than 50 replies from people also hoping to learn more about MS, it became apparent that more information and research were needed. Inspired to make a change, Ms. Lawry and 20 research scientists founded the National MS Society in 1947. What started out as one woman's vision has evolved into an entire movement that has funded research and provided advocacy and information for millions. Read more about her inspirational work to raise public awareness about MS.

Since 1946, the National MS Society has devoted more than half of a billion dollars to support MS research. Today it continues to build public awareness around MS, including the sponsorship of MS Awareness Week on March 8th–14th.

Bike Icon

Move it during MS Awareness Week.
How will you move it? Take a moment to learn more about MS Awareness Week and the events happening in your area. Sign up to participate in Walk MSSM or Bike MS, advocate for people living with MS, volunteer or donate. You can even organize your own event!

Day Icon

Make the most of every day.
Living with relapsing MS may present certain challenges, and you may wonder if there are ways to work around or even overcome some of them. We asked David, an MS LifeLines® Ambassador, for his thoughts on the subject. Read our web-only article on how David manages his everyday challenges and how he plans to spend MS Awareness Week. MS LifeLines Ambassadors are sponsored by EMD Serono, Inc. and Pfizer Inc.

Sincerely,

Your friends at MS LifeLines®


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Another Great article from Wheelchair Kamikaze

Ok, so , yea, I know, Yes, I am a Bit Biased...

After-all he is a brethren New Yorker, as I once was...

But geez, he does know how to keep us entertained with his video series on being the wheelchair kamikaze (some of his work can be found on this blog by scrolling to find the few that he has here) ...

And yes, he knows how to give good info. Or provide good resources for those interested in keeping informed and up-to-date.
Just like the one found here.

Be empowered with MS information is my motto and hopefully yours too...

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First Blinded Study of Venous Insufficiency (CCSVI) Prevalence in MS Shows Promising Results

Release Date: February 10, 2010

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- More than 55 percent of multiple sclerosis patients participating in the initial phase of the first randomized clinical study to determine if persons with MS exhibit narrowing of the extracranial veins, causing restriction of normal outflow of blood from the brain, were found to have the abnormality.

The results were reported today by neurology researchers at the University at Buffalo.


When the 10.2 percent of subjects in which results were border line were excluded, the percentage of affected MS patients rose to 62.5 percent, preliminary results show, compared to 25.9 percent of healthy controls.


These preliminary results are based on the first 500 participants in the Combined Transcranial and Extracranial Venous Doppler Evaluation (CTEVD) study, which began at UB in April 2009. Investigators are planning to examine 500 additional subjects, who will be assessed in the second phase of the study with more advanced diagnostic tools. Complete data on the first 500 will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology meeting in April.

Continue reading on the homepage of our website


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Neutralizing Antibodies to Interferon Beta That Persist Long After Cessation of Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

February 8, 2010

Objectives To confirm that neutralizing antibodies (NAb) to interferon beta can persist after therapy withdrawal and to evaluate whether persisting NAb are associated with a worse clinical disease course in multiple sclerosis (MS).

Design Retrospective study.

Setting Tertiary referral center in the Netherlands.

Patients A total of 71 patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis treated with interferon beta in the past.

Main Outcome Measures Persisting NAb after therapy withdrawal were tested using the cytopathic effect assay. Patients with and without persisting NAb were compared on several outcomes: the change in annualized relapse rate from prior to interferon beta treatment initiation to after cessation of treatment, time to sustained disability on the Kurtzke Expanded Disability Status Scale, and the use of disease-modifying treatments after cessation of treatment with interferon beta.

Results Seventeen of 71 patients (24%) tested NAb positive after a median interval of 25 months (interquartile range, 10-51 months) after interferon beta treatment cessation. Eleven of these 17 patients (15%) were high-titer NAb positive (>150 10-fold reduction units per mL). Persisting NAb were associated with an increase in the annualized relapse rate (P = .04) and a reduction in time to reach a sustained Expanded Disability Status Scale score of 6.0, ie, the need for unilateral assistance to walk 100 m (P = .02). Moreover, NAb-positive patients were treated with second-line therapy significantly more often, especially mitoxantrone (P = .006).

Conclusion Anti–interferon beta NAb can persist after interferon beta treatment withdrawal and are associated with overt clinical disease activity. This is made apparentby an increase in relapse rate and faster disability progression and is supported by the observed need for more aggressive therapy after interferon beta treatment cessation. Prospective studies are warranted to confirm these results.


READ Complete article from :Archives of Neurology (click)

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PIVOTAL MS NEWS - Leaders from National MS Society Meet with Dr. Zamboni to discuss CCSVI

Feb 09, 2010
Leaders from National MS Society Meet with Dr. Zamboni at NYU-hosted Scientific Presentation


National MS Society leaders met with Paulo Zamboni, MD today in advance of his invited lecture at New York University’s MS Center of Excellence. Dr. Zamboni, of the University of Ferrara in Italy, is a vascular surgeon who has put forth the hypothesis of a connection between CCSVI, or blocked blood flow in the brain, and MS.

In meetings and during today’s lecture, Dr. Zamboni suggested that if further evidence supports the link between MS and CCSVI, that its treatment may ultimately add to the arsenal of therapies available for MS. He also emphasized the need for more research on his hypothesis, and noted that it is still not proven whether CCSVI is a cause of MS or possibly a product of MS.

Dr. Zamboni also noted that people with MS should remain on their immunomodulatory therapies as has his wife after her endovascular surgery.

The National MS Society is aggressively pursuing this potential MS lead by undertaking the funding of new research on CCSVI in MS. Today (February 9) is the deadline for investigators to submit their research applications on this topic to both the National MS Society and the MS Society of Canada.

An international panel of experts will conduct an expedited review of the applications, and funding decisions will be announced in June 2010.The Society shares in the public urgency to expeditiously advance any lead that has the potential of stopping, repairing or preventing MS.


Source: National MS Society

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Comments on the National Post articles on Dr Zamboni and CCSVI

Comments on the National Post articles on Dr Zamboni and CCSVI by Blackwell and Corcoran

comments by: Dr Ashton Embry, Direct-MS (www.direct-ms.org)

A few weeks ago, two articles on Dr Zamboni’s research on chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) and its implications for treating multiple sclerosis were published in the National Post. One was by Tom Blackwell and was entitled “Is new MS research the real thing, or a media-driven frenzy?” Mr Blackwell tried to be somewhat objective on Dr Zamboni’s work but frequently lapsed into negativity. The second article by Terrance Corcoran, the editor of
the Financial Post, was entitled “A cure in sight? Not so fast”. It did not pretend to have any objectivity and was pure vitriol from start to finish.

To understand the motivation behind these two “anti-CCSVI” articles, one has to be aware of “media politics” in Canada. There are two main newspaper chains and each has a national newspaper as well as numerous local ones. The National Post, which was founded by Conrad Black, is the national newspaper of CanWest Global Media and it represents the conservative voice in Canada. The national newspaper of Bell Canada Media, a somewhat more liberal voice, is the
Globe and Mail, and it published the original story on Dr Zamboni’s research on its front page in late November. Bell Media also owns the CTV network which produced the riveting documentary on Dr Zamboni’s revolutionary work by Avis Favaro and Elizabeth St Philip.

Needless to say there is a lot of rivalry between the two media chains and I am told that CanWest Global executives were most displeased that Bell Media scooped them on the Zamboni story. Thus, the Post articles are basically a “sour grapes” response by CanWest Global Media. However, that does not mean they potentially do not have some value.

Continue Reading a .pdf file from the Direct-MS.org website

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

SHE learned she had multiple sclerosis nearly 12 years ago. Her husband Tom stands by her - In sickness and in health ...

article provided to me by Bobbie V.

From CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Tom and Vera Forkner, married for more than 30 years, learned of Vera's MS 12 years ago
  • Vera's change in mobility changed their relationship because they can't go out on adventures
  • Research shows women did not fare well in marriage if they were the sick partner

  • (CNN) -- Tom and Vera Forkner have loved each other for more than 30 years."As you can imagine, it's been everything," Vera said as Tom laughed.
  • "It's been up and down; it's been smooth; it's been rocky. We've been through a lot together," she said, smiling.Including Vera's multiple sclerosis diagnosis almost 12 years ago.
  • "The first thing was just fear, because we didn't know what was going on...fear, concern and worry for Vera," explained Tom.Vera says it was like a death in the family.
  • "It was like the death of a loved one. I'd get up every morning and the first thought was, I have MS," explained Vera.
  • For the first four or five years her disease was fairly stable and their lives seemed almost normal. Vera, who was in her early 40s, was taking a MS drug that kept her disease under control.



Click here to continue reading and watch a video from this CNN report

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Star skier Jimmie Heuga dies - He helped thousands with MS to live their lives

Vail Daily

Heuga's Vail Valley-based organization has helped thousands with multiple sclerosis live active lives

Jimmie Heuga, the American skier who won a bronze medal in the 1964 Olympics and later used his battle with multiple sclerosis to help other people diagnosed with that disease, died Monday.

He was 66.

In 1984, Heuga founded the Vail Valley-based Jimmie Heuga Center, which sought to encourage people with multiple sclerosis to adopt healthy lifestyles and positive attitudes. The group is now called Can Do Multiple Sclerosis.

Continue reading

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Multiple Sclerosis Experts Join Biogen Idec's Research and Development Team

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Feb 08, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Biogen Idec a global biotechnology leader in the discovery, development, manufacturing and commercialization of innovative therapies, today announced that John R. Richert, M.D., will be joining the Company as a Senior Fellow in Neurology Research and Development and Nancy D. Richert, M.D., Ph.D., will be joining as a Fellow in Neurology Research and Development.

"We are extremely excited to add these two very distinguished leaders in the multiple sclerosis community to the Biogen Idec team," said Alfred Sandrock, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Neurology Research and Development. "Drs. John and Nancy Richert have a wealth of experience in MS treatment and research, which will help shape our drug development strategies and further enhance our abilities to bring to market innovative therapies that improve patients' lives."

"I've spent my professional life working on advancing the treatment of multiple sclerosis and am thrilled to be joining the talented and dedicated team at Biogen Idec," said Dr. John Richert. "Biogen Idec is a leader in the treatment of multiple sclerosis, and I look forward to working with the Company to further their research for this debilitating disease."

"Neuroimaging is a rapidly advancing discipline that has become an indispensable tool in the diagnosis and treatment of multiple sclerosis and other neurological disorders," said Dr. Nancy Richert. "I'm excited to apply my expertise to help Biogen Idec further its mission of developing life-saving and life-altering therapies for patients with multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other serious neurological diseases."

Dr. John Richert joins Biogen Idec from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS), where he served as executive vice president for Research and Clinical Programs for the past five years.

Continue reading

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My Friend, "The Wheelchair Kamikaze" needs your vote

Wheelchair Kamikaze was nominated in a "Best Patient’s Blog" award contest being run by medgadget.com.

Incredibly it's become a two-way race between his MS blog and a type I diabetes blog.

You can help him, by voting for him.

If you have never seen his videos, visit my blog and scroll to the light green section on the lower right as well as the boxed section near to the bottom.


The voting ends this Sunday, so please be sure to vote now, by visiting his blog where there is an image to click on, or vote directly at the medgadget.com site: http://medgadget.com/2009bestpatient.html

BTW, I should have some new Wheelchair Kamikaze videos coming soon, or as soon as Marc send them to me.



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Oral drugs to treat multiple sclerosis could become available in 2011

Information provided by Odalys in Miami:

with regards to Oral Cladribine and Fingolimod

Oral drugs to treat multiple sclerosis could become available in 2011 after promising results in two trials.

Drug licences have been applied for and the MS Society said it was "great news" for people with MS - current treatments involve injections or infusions.

The trials of the drugs each involved 1,000 people in over 18 countries, the New England Journal of Medicine says.

Cladribine and fingolimod, which come as tablets, cut relapse rates by 50-60% over two years compared with placebos.

Fingolimod was also tested against the widely used injection, beta interferon 1a. The trial showed the new drug was twice as effective in reducing the number of relapses over a year.

Multiple sclerosis is the most common disabling neurological disorder affecting young adults. It affects more than 100,000 people in the UK and 2.5 million worldwide.

Symptoms include mobility problems, lack of bladder and bowel control and and blurred vision.

The downside of current treatments is that they have to be injected or given by infusion.

MS sufferers have long hoped a pill would be developed. Pharmaceutical companies have been competing to get there first.

READ Complete article from BBC News

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Monday, February 8, 2010

'Liberation' MS treatment scientist welcomes skepticism

An Italian medical professor discusses his groundbreaking medical theory and procedure that could potentially cure patients who suffer from Multiple Sclerosis.


CTV.ca News Staff

Date: Mon. Feb. 8 2010 2:21 PM ET

An Italian scientist with a controversial theory suggesting multiple sclerosis can be treated as a vascular disease says he welcomes skepticism about his findings.

"This is normal when there is a new finding in science," Dr. Paolo Zamboni told Canada AM Monday. "I think that this is positive because it stimulates debate."

Zamboni was in Hamilton, Ont. Sunday for a scientific workshop looking into the relationship between MS and the newly-discovered condition called chronic cerebro-spinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI).

"The meeting yesterday was quite successful because we met a lot of colleagues from all over the world that are actually working on our theory," said Zamboni, who is a professor of medicine at the University of Ferrara in Italy.

Zamboni's team believes that CCSVI causes veins in the neck and upper chest to twist, narrow or become blocked; in some cases, these veins never form at all. The result is poor blood drainage from the brain.

Zamboni has found that more than 90 per cent of patients with MS have these malformed veins, and improper blood flow from the brain.

The Italian scientist says a surgical procedure to restore proper blood flow, which he dubbed the "Liberation treatment," can reduce MS symptoms.

In a study of 65 patients who underwent the procedure, released in the Journal of Vascular Surgery, Zamboni says that 50 per cent of patients with the most common form of MS were relapse-free for at least 18 months.

CONTINUE READING and View a Video, by clicking here



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New Study Finds Specialized Support Programs Can Increase Treatment Adherence and Persistence, Reduce Relapses for People with Multiple Sclerosis

  • Study Patients Also Reported Improved Ability to Manage Their Health
  • Support Programs May Yield Cost Savings

Press Release Source: UnitedHealth Group On Monday February 8, 2010, 10:00 am EST

IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A new study reveals that multiple sclerosis (MS) patients enrolled in a seven-month disease therapy management (DTM) program show greater adherence to injectable MS medications and treatment persistence than patients who receive injectable MS medications through a community pharmacy.

In addition, the percentage of DTM patients who reported an MS relapse decreased by more than a third at the end of the program. These findings provide important insights into the benefits that DTM programs provide in helping patients better manage their health, while also yielding potential cost savings.

The study, published today in the American Journal of Managed Care, was conducted by Prescription Solutions, a leading pharmacy benefits management organization and a UnitedHealth Group company.

Continue Reading

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Multiple Sclerosis: Blacks Have More Severe Symptoms, Decline Faster Than Whites, New Study Shows

February 8, 2010

Fewer African Americans than Caucasians develop multiple sclerosis (MS), statistics show, but their disease progresses more rapidly, and they don't respond as well to therapies, a new study by neurology researchers at the University at Buffalo has found.

Magnetic resonance images (MRI) of a cohort of 567 consecutive MS patients showed that blacks with MS had more damage to brain tissue and had less normal white and gray matter compared to whites with the disease.

Results of the study were published ahead of print on Jan. 20 at
http://www.neurology.org and appear in the Feb. 16 issue of the journal Neurology.

Bianca Weinstock-Guttman, MD, UB associate professor of neurology in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, is first author on the study. Weinstock-Guttman directs the Baird Multiple Sclerosis Center in Kaleida Health's Buffalo General Hospital.

"Black patients showed more brain tissue damage and accumulated brain lesions faster than whites, along with rapid clinical deterioration," confirms Weinstock-Guttman. "The results provide further support that black patients experience a more severe disease, calling for individualized therapeutic interventions for this group of MS patients."


Continue to read from Medical News today
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Research on the Blood-Brain Barrier in MS

What is the blood-brain-barrier?

The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a specialized structure formed by the blood vessels of the central nervous system (CNS) that regulates the movement of molecules and ions between the blood and the brain.

The blood vessels in the brain are different from everywhere else. Our circulatory system sends oxygen and other nutrients to every tissue of our body through our blood and blood vessels.

In most tissues the blood vessels are leaky or permeable in order to let the oxygen and nutrients into the tissue. However in the CNS (the brain, spinal cord and retina) the blood vessels form a tight barrier to protect the brain from any toxic chemicals or infectious agents that might damage it. In fact if you inject blue dye into the blood stream the dye will penetrate all tissues except the brain.

CLICK HERE to read complete article from the Myelin Repair Foundation's Blog

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