Sunday, October 13, 2013

Window Into The Brain Reveals Deadly Secrets

The research article below is from 2009. Even though it's sort of old, it raises an interesting question about possible constriction of capillaries in the brain in Lyme disease. The topic is cerebral malaria.

Often, upon awakening in the morning, I feel that my brain has gone sort of off-line and feels miserable. It's a kind of malaise that I wish I could describe, but basically it is so terrible that it defies description. The closest I can come is to say I feel like I've been poisoned. Having never been poisoned (officially), I have no idea what that feels like. I'm just guessing. This poisoned feeling can also happen at other times when I take serious deep rest, such as (sometimes) after a meditation, or after a nap.

I have theorized that unless I'm moving around, bloodflow shuts down a bit, in the brain. This may also explain why I feel better when on an inversion table, or doing inverted yoga postures, swimming, deep breathing, etc. I do carry a gene called Leiden Factor 5, which increases my clotting potential and can contribute to what my doctor calls "sticky blood." So it's possible that a blood thinner may be in order for me. I'm taking Boluoke, AKA lumbrokinease, because it's a natural blood thinner, made from earthworms (yuk). Here's a short definition from Wikipedia:

Lumbrokinase is a fibrinolytic enzyme[1] present in the earthworm Lumbricus bimastus.[2] It has been investigated as an experimental antithrombotic agent.[3

One of the side effects of Lyme disease (some say this is a sign of Bartonella more than of Lyme) is strange changes in the skin. I'm developing more and more spider veins in my legs almost overnight. Also a kind of transparency and parchment-like look to the skin on my backs of my hands.

Is my brain short of oxygen at night? I do have moderate apnea, but I address that with a kind of retainer I wear on my teeth at night. (See previous posts about my apnea -- just search my blog using the Search tool in the right margin.) But when I measure oxygen saturation on my finger overnight it seems to be fine (always in the high 90s with an occasional dip into the 80s). But since I am measuring oxygen concentration on a finger, that doesn't say much about oxygen saturation in my brain.

My brain SPECT scans have been normal, with no particular indications of the typical hypo-perfusion seen in Lyme patients. However, my MRIs have shown signs of some past ischemia in the form of small plaques -- about half a dozen of them so far -- that the radiologists have interpreted as being from lack of oxygen perfusion, such as in TIA's (Temporary Ischemic Attacks). Many Lyme patients have hypoperfusion of the brain, which is the reason SPECT scans can be used as a Lyme diagnostic tool.

Maybe this article points to something that may be a causative factor Lyme brain fog, headaches, even neurological issues such as the dying off of parts of the brain. In my case, the substantia nigra. The article below is about cerebral malaria but maybe Lyme and its coinfections use a similar mechanism that kills off parts of the brain.


Cerebral Malaria:

Main Category: Tropical Diseases
Also Included In: Neurology / Neuroscience; Eye Health / Blindness; Pediatrics / Children's Health
Article source: Medical News Today
Article Date: 15 Jan 2009 - 6:00 PDT

Looking at the retina in the eyes of patients with cerebral malaria has provided scientists with a vital insight into why malaria infection in the brain is so deadly. In a study funded by the Wellcome Trust and Fight for Sight and published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, researchers in Malawi have shown for the first time in patients that the build-up of infected blood cells in the narrow blood vessels of the brain leads to a potentially lethal lack of oxygen to the brain.

Malaria is one of the world's biggest killers, killing over a million people every year, mainly children and pregnant women in Africa, and adults in South-east Asia. Malaria parasites enter the bloodstream from bites by infected mosquitoes and live in red blood cells, making them stick to the inside of narrow blood vessels and causing blockages. Most deaths occur as a result of cerebral malaria, where red blood cells infected by malaria parasites build up into the brain, leading to coma and convulsions and, if not treated swiftly, death.

Scientists have known for some time that cerebral malaria is accompanied by changes in the retina, known as malarial retinopathy which can be seen by examining the eye. Because the retina can be considered as an extension of the central nervous system, it has been used previously as a "window into the brain", allowing for swifter diagnosis of cerebral malaria. However, until now it was not clearly understood why the disease should be so deadly.

In new research, Dr Nick Beare of the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, together with colleagues at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre, Malawi, examined the retinas of 34 children admitted to the hospital with cerebral malaria. They used a technique known as fluorescein angiography, which involves injecting a special dye into the arm intravenously and photographing its passage through the blood vessels of the retina . It is used to identify fluid leakage or blockages in the small blood vessels at the back of the eye.

More than four in five of the children examined by Dr Beare and colleagues were found to have impaired blood flow in the blood vessels of their eyes. Three-quarters had whitening to areas of the retina where blood did not appear to reach, implying that the parasites were disrupting the supply of oxygen and nutrients.

"We have previously used the retina to accurately diagnose severe malaria, but now this window into the brain has opened up our knowledge of what makes cerebral malaria so deadly," says Dr Beare. "This is the first study to clearly show...

See full story online:

Source: Craig Brierley
Wellcome Trust

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release.
Visit their tropical diseases section for the latest news on this subject.

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