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  • Think scientists have anatomy and physiology all figured out? Think again!

  • Hi everyone! Crystal here for DNews talking about how the more scientists learn about

  • the body, the less we really seem to knowwhat am I talking about? A recent discovery

  • by scientists at the University of Virginia revealed a connection between the central

  • nervous system (CNS) and the immune system that had gone unnoticed for centuries. This

  • discovery challenges current theories about basic brain-body interactions and could throw

  • our current ideas on the development of some neurological diseases completely out the window!

  • After learning about this discovery, one scientist was quoted as sayingtheyll have to

  • rewrite the textbooks.”

  • I find results like these so exciting because they demonstrate that the pursuit of new knowledge

  • is a dynamic process. In the journal Nature, the scientists from UVA’s School of Medicine

  • reported the existence of previously unknown vasculature carrying immune cells between

  • the meninges -the protective tissue around the brain- and the cervical lymph nodes that

  • are the hubs of our immune system. This discovery was made the same way a lot of big scientific

  • discoveries are made: by accident. A scientist developing a new way to prepare slides of

  • intact mouse meningeal tissue noticed an unexpected pattern of immune cells in the tissue under

  • his microscope, and, because he’s a scientist, he just had to know why. In science, unexpected

  • results can mean big discoveries and this was no exception.

  • In addition to draining interstitial fluids, classic lymphatic vessels carry the white

  • blood cells of the immune system throughout the body. Prior to the discovery of these

  • new vessels, no direct link between the brain and spinal cord and the Immune system had

  • been found and it was thought that the brain was an area of mildimmune privilege

  • meaning able to tolerate insult or disease exposure without eliciting a rush of inflammation

  • to the affected region. This assumption left scientists in the dark about the mechanisms

  • behind many neurological diseases that involve altered immunity. But now that this connection

  • has been discovered, there is already speculation about whether impaired drainage or malfunction

  • of these newly discovered lymphatic vasculature could contribute to the buildup of plaques

  • in Alzheimer's disease, and scientists have a new place to look when investigating the

  • immune attacks experienced by patients with Multiple Sclerosis.

  • The discovery of direct interaction between the CNS and the immune system changes how

  • we think about the brain’s response to injury and the development of disease. Obviously,

  • more research is needed and these groundbreaking results are nonetheless preliminary. But this

  • exciting discovery will lead to further investigation into the vasculature structure surrounding

  • the human brain and hopefully a more detailed understanding of human health and physiology.

  • On the topic of new discoveries, some scientists are finding that young blood might have rejuvenating

  • properties - at least in mice - but theyre still trying to figure out why. Julia has

  • more in this video

Think scientists have anatomy and physiology all figured out? Think again!


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