Medical research has found that the brain is connected to the immune system by some vessels. Decades of text book teaching have been changed by the research done by doctors from The University of Virginia. Previously, it was thought that the lymphatic system (the one in charge of cleaning our body) stopped at the neck. But, this new medical research has found that it goes all the way up to the brain.
Apparently, after years of dissection at the human body, a system of lymphatic vessels remained undetected. That’s why this connexion between the brain and the immune system wasn’t discovered.
Jonathan Kipnis is the professor in charge of the research. He claims that this discovery “changes entirely the way we perceive the neuro-immune interaction. We always perceived it before as something esoteric that can’t be studied. But now we can ask mechanistic questions.” It seems unbelievable that this very important part of the body wasn’t yet discovered. But, fortunately, thanks to these medical researchers, mankind can start to study this new connection.
The researches say that this discovery could have a huge impact on the study and treatment of neurological diseases such as autism, multiple sclerosis and even Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Kipnis says that they believe that every neurological illness has an immune component to it. In this case, these new discovered vessels represent a very important part. He also explains that Alzheimer’s is produced by the gathering of big pieces of protein in the brain. Maybe they’re accumulating because they’re not being properly eliminated by these vessels.
These studies were believe to be finished around the middle of the last century. But, ever since Dr. Antoine Louveau (from Kipnis’ Lab) made the discovery while looking at a mouse’s brain, things have change.
This new found anatomy is a continuation of the lymphatic system. It works as a community of vessels that function along with the body’s veins. They carry immune cells and not blood. The reason why the vessels were ignore is because the meninges are considered as the brain’s container, rather than a piece of anatomy of its own.