Navigation Links
Scientists discover a direct route from the brain to the immune system
Date:10/24/2007

It used to be dogma that the brain was shut away from the actions of the immune system, shielded from the outside forces of nature. But thats not how it is at all. In fact, thanks to the scientific detective work of Kevin Tracey, MD, it turns out that the brain talks directly to the immune system, sending commands that control the bodys inflammatory response to infection and autoimmune diseases. Understanding the intimate relationship is leading to a novel way to treat diseases triggered by a dangerous inflammatory response.

Dr. Tracey, director and chief executive of The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, will be giving the 2007 Stetten Lecture on Wednesday, Oct. 24, at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. His talk Physiology and Immunology of the Cholinergic Anti-inflammatory Pathway will highlight the discoveries made in his laboratory and the clinical trials underway to test the theory that stimulation of the vagus nerve could block a rogue inflammatory response and treat a number of diseases, including life-threatening sepsis.

With this new understanding of the vagus nerves role in regulating inflammation, scientists believe that they can tap into the bodys natural healing defenses and calm the sepsis storm before it wipes out its victims. Each year, 750,000 people in the United States develop severe sepsis, and 215,000 will die no matter how hard doctors fight to save them. Sepsis is triggered by the bodys own overpowering immune response to a systemic infection, and hospitals are the battlegrounds for these potentially lethal conditions.

The vagus nerve is located in the brainstem and snakes down from the brain to the heart and on through to the abdomen. Dr. Tracey and others are now studying ways of altering the brains response or targeting the immune system itself as a way to control diseases.

Dr. Tracey is a neurosurgeon who came into research through the back door of the operating room. More than two decades ago, he was treating a young girl whose body had been accidentally scorched by boiling water and she was fighting for her life to overcome sepsis. She didnt make it. Dr. Tracey headed into the laboratory to figure out why the body makes its own cells that can do fatal damage. Dr. Tracey discovered that the vagus nerve speaks directly to the immune system through a neurochemical called acetylcholine. And stimulating the vagus nerve sent commands to the immune system to stop pumping out toxic inflammatory markers. This was so surprising to us, said Dr. Tracey, who immediately saw the potential to use vagus stimulation as a way to shut off abnormal immune system responses. He calls this network the inflammatory reflex.

Research is now underway to see whether tweaking the brain's acetylcholine system could be a natural way to control the inflammatory response. Inflammation is key to many diseases - from autoimmune conditions like Crohn's disease and rheumatoid arthritis to Alzheimer's, where scientists have identified a strong inflammatory component.

Dr. Tracey has presented his work to the Dalai Lama, who has shown a great interest in the neurosciences and the mind-body connection. He has also written a book called Fatal Sequence, about the double-edge sword of the immune system.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jamie Talan
jtalan@nshs.edu
516-562-1232
North Shore-Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Health System
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Nobel Prize for Medicine shared by Three scientists
2. Scientists plan human cloning clinic in the United States
3. Scientists crack mechanism of Leptin-Obesity Hormone
4. Scientists use plant hormones to fight cancer
5. American scientists alter gene makeup of babies
6. Expose on eating disorders!! Scientists trace “brain’s eating control center pathway”
7. Scientists found ancient Human Germ Killer
8. Scientists locate key hormone involved in appetite control
9. Scientists open the book of life
10. Electronic nose by Italian scientists
11. Scientists review SARS
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Global Healthcare Management’s 4th Annual Kids Fun Run ... This free event, sponsored by Global Healthcare Management’s CEO, Jon Letko, is aimed ... geared towards children of all ages; it is a non-competitive, non-timed event, which is ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... “The Journey: From the ... danger possible to save lost souls in the Philippines. “The Journey: From the Mountains ... a dedicated teacher of the Bible. She has taught all ages and currently teaches ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... LA (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... Planet ... in the U.S., announced today its plans to open a flagship location in Covington, ... occupy the former Rooms To Go store next to Office Depot in the Holiday ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Asante, ... post-acute health care, have expanded their existing home health joint venture through an ... has been operating a joint venture home health company with Asante, delivering clinically ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... D.C. (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... Leading ... their peers in Washington, D.C., for the 49th Congress of the International Society ... ., Vice President of the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/5/2017)... 5, 2017  In response to the nationwide ... Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) released prescribing recommendations that urge ... used as a first-line therapy to manage a ... Recognizing the value and importance ... "Opioid Prescribing: Acute and Postoperative Pain Management" stresses ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... FLINT, Mich. , Oct. 2, 2017 ... acquired 8th Day Software and Consulting, LLC , ... 8th Day Software, based in Tennessee ... Management LLC. 8th Day expands EnvoyHealth,s service offerings for ... product development. "In ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... , Oct. 2, 2017 The Rebound mobile app ... struggle to reverse the tide of prescription drug addiction. The ... their medicine intake and stepping down their dosage in a ... launch in December 2017; the first 100,000 people to sign ... at http://www.rebound-solution.com/ ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: