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Missing link found between brain, immune system

Stashed in: Brain, Awesome, Virginia, Alzheimer's, Neuroscience, Autism, Immunotherapy

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There is a direct connection between the brain and the lymphatic system!!! It is sort of incredible that relatively major physiological pathways can still be discovered... but a team of scientists at UVA seems pretty excited about this news, which could affect all kinds of neuro-immune diseases such as autism, Alzheimer's, and MS.

For every neurological disease that has an immune component to it, these vessels may play a major role.

The unexpected presence of the lymphatic vessels raises a tremendous number of questions that now need answers, both about the workings of the brain and the diseases that plague it. For example, take Alzheimer's disease. "In Alzheimer's, there are accumulations of big protein chunks in the brain," Kipnis said. "We think they may be accumulating in the brain because they're not being efficiently removed by these vessels." He noted that the vessels look different with age, so the role they play in aging is another avenue to explore. And there's an enormous array of other neurological diseases, from autism to multiple sclerosis, that must be reconsidered in light of the presence of something science insisted did not exist.

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