Brain ‘talks’ directly to body’s immune systemNovember 14th, 2007 - 2:50 am ICT by admin
He has revealed that clinical trials are being conducted 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.
Scientists believe that the new understanding of the vagus nerve’s role in regulating inflammation may enable them to tap into the body’s natural healing defences, and to calm the sepsis storm before it wipes out its victims.
Sepsis is triggered by the body’s 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 is now researching into ways of altering the brain’s response or targeting the immune system itself as a way to control diseases.
He has revealed that more than two decades ago, he was treating a young girl whose body had been accidentally scorched by boiling water. He said that the girl fighting for her life to overcome sepsis, but she did not make it.
Dr. Tracey headed into the laboratory to figure out why the body makes its own cells that can do fatal damage. He discovered that the vagus nerve speaks directly to the immune system through a neurochemical called acetylcholine.
He also found that 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”.
He is now studying whether tweaking the brain’s acetylcholine system could be a natural way to control the inflammatory response.
Dr. Tracey has already 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 about the double-edge sword of the immune system, which is called ‘Fatal Sequence’. (ANI)
- Sepsis killing more people than AIDS: Experts (Sep 13 is World Sepsis Day) - Sep 12, 2012
- Protein that may fight against inflammatory disease identified - Oct 21, 2010
- New study sheds light on brain's inherent ability to focus on learning - Dec 09, 2010
- How the immune system and brain communicate to control disease - Jul 22, 2008
- Nerve stimulation may thwart tinnitus: Study - Jan 13, 2011
- Mind governs skin's reactivity to allergies - Jan 19, 2012
- New treatment could halt arthritis spread - Jul 31, 2012
- Stress can be good for immune system - Jun 22, 2012
- Inflammation drug promising in depression - Sep 04, 2012
- How HIV affects brain function in its initial stages - Mar 03, 2011
- Clues on inflammation in central nervous system uncovered - Oct 22, 2010
- Mice study finds link between depression and inflammatory response - Dec 21, 2010
- Western diet makes sepsis worse - Oct 19, 2010
- Prebiotic helps lower colon cancer risk: study - May 04, 2012
- Two-sided immune cell could be harnessed to shrink tumours: Study - Oct 29, 2010
Tags: acetylcholine, battlegrounds, brain, brainstem, control diseases, defences, dr kevin, girl fighting, immune response, immune system responses, inflammatory markers, inflammatory response, intimate relationship, lethal conditions, natural healing, sepsis, systemic infection, vagus nerve