The Brain is Connected to the Immune System

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A striking paper published in Nature shows that the lymphatic system is in fact connected to the brain.  This has huge implications for diseases that are linked to dysfunctional immunological responses, like multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, and autism.

The authors were “searching for T-cell gateways into and out of the meninges, [and] we discovered functional lymphatic vessels lining the dural sinuses.”  In other words, the brain does in fact have a functioning lymph system.

From the press release (the hype may well be justified):

  • Vessels directly connecting brain, lymphatic system exist despite decades of doctrine that they don’t
  • Finding may have substantial implications for major neurological diseases
  • Game-changing discovery opens new areas of research, transforms existing ones
  • Major gap in understanding of the human body revealed
  • ‘They’ll have to change the textbooks’

Diagram from University of Virginia Health System.

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