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Researchers Find Missing Link Between Brain & Immune System

  1. Jun 2, 2015 #1
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 2, 2015 #2


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    Very interesting! Thanks for posting the link.

  4. Jun 2, 2015 #3


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    Here's a link to the study that the news piece is reporting on:
    Louveau et al. 2015. Structural and functional features of central nervous system lymphatic vessels. Nature. Published online 01 June 2015. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature14432 [Broken]

    The article seems to focus more on how the immune system interfaces with the brain than how the brain might affect the immune system. However, mood definitely will affect the immune system, and this is largely an effect of stress hormones that suppress the immune system.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  5. Jun 2, 2015 #4


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    interesting, Thanks

    so it really does prove the old adage that " Laughter is the best medicine" :smile:

  6. Jun 3, 2015 #5
    I was actually going to post and ask about this, because I'm very interested in this but I don't know enough about it.

    I'm seeing it on a number of pages, all touting it as "revolutionary", "a paradigm shift", the "medical discovery of the century", and that the researchers have discovered a heretofore completely unknown bodily system, that this has "game-changing" implications for research on autism, MS, and Alzheimer's, and that this is cause to "Rewrite the textbooks." Is this really as huge as they're saying?

    Am I correct in my understanding that the researchers have essentially found lymph vessels in the meninges, and if that's the case, then what makes this so huge?

    I would really appreciate if someone could explain it, since it looks interesting but I haven't had a biology or health science class since high school.
  7. Jun 3, 2015 #6


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    Sensationalism. Even this article title, "missing link", as if there was this one thing missing and now all our problems are solved.
  8. Jun 3, 2015 #7


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    Well, in this case, it was quite literally a missing link. It was once thought that the brain had immune privilege and did not interact with the immune system. However, research over the past couple of decades began to change that view, so we knew a link existed, but we didn't know much more than that. This paper discovers the anatomical structure that provides at least one link between the immune system and the brain.

    But yes, it does not solve all of our problems. However, like most good research, it can help spur some new hypotheses. For example, it would be interesting to look at these lymph vessels are any different between healthy people and people with diseases like MS (an autoimmune disorder) or Alzheimer's (a disease thought to be caused by defects in clearing a substance called amyloid-β from the celebrospinal fluid). I'm sure those working on developing antibodies to treat Alzheimer's are going to take a careful look at the paper. This study is not guaranteed to help in understanding the disease, and even if it does, it will take some time to translate that knowledge into potential treatment, but the finding is in itself of great interest to a number of researchers working in a number of different areas. I'd agree that it's not the medical discovery of the century (so far this century, that might be CRISPR), but it's still an important discovery.
  9. Jun 3, 2015 #8


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    That's fair, I didn't mean to imply the research itself is bunk. It sounds like an interesting find! My grandfather died of Alzheimers and we studied it along side Huntington's in my neuro lab stint, so I can appreciate the potential relevance.
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