“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.
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 ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis)!
Jonathan Kipnis, PhD, professor in the UVA Department of Neuroscience and director of UVA’s Center for Brain Immunology and Glia, stated, “We believe that for every neurological disease that has an immune component to it, these vessels may play a major role. [It’s] hard to imagine that these vessels would not be involved in a [neurological] disease with an immune component.”
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[image credit: University of Virginia Health System]
[image of Dr. Kipnis from bingdotcom]