Gimmicky diets, flavor fakery, and sham sweets all try to bamboozle the brain out of wanting sugary treats and calorie-packed happy hour drinks. But scientists may have found an all-natural way to simply switch off those corrupting cravings.
I am always nervous about hormone treatments, as we usually do not know all the side effects of the hormone treatments, as the body is a series of complex chemical interactions driven in part by hormones. I am even more nervous about chemical treatments than hormone treatments, as they are not usually natural to the body and can throw things out of whack leaving the body no natural way to overcome the chemical imbalance. So I am cautiously optimistic that this is a better treatment path than existing medicines, as the hormone occurs naturally in the body, appears to be directly involved in doing what they want it to do already, and hopefully the body has some built in methods to handle additional amounts of the hormone with fewer serious side effects.
Here in the S-wing of Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital, Mainprize and his research team accomplished on Thursday what no one in the world has ever done before: Using focused ultrasound waves, they have opened the human blood-brain barrier, paving the way for future treatment of an array of currently impossible or hard-to cure-illnesses – from brain cancer to certain forms of depression, stroke, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
I’m not very keen on intentionally tearing even small holes in capillaries. It may work well for tumors, since the goal is to damage that tissue anyway. But using this to deliver drugs to healthy tissue sounds problematic. The Blood-Brain Barrier exists for some very good reasons. If used in healthy tissue this would essentially imitate a small hemorrhagic stroke for 8-12 hours. That’s a lot of time for glutamate toxicity alone, and there are many other substances in systemic circulation that aren’t tolerated well in the brain.
Last week, researchers announced they had discovered a physical connection between the immune system and the brain’s blood supply. The finding gives researchers a novel approach to understanding diseases ranging from autism to multiple sclerosis, and strengthens the bridge between neuroscience and immunology.
For the first time, doctors have opened and closed the brain’s protector – the blood-brain barrier – on demand. The breakthrough will allow drugs to reach diseased areas of the brain that are otherwise out of bounds. Ultimately, it could make it easier to treat conditions such as Alzheimer’s and brain cancer.
An MRI scan showed that a marker chemical, injected along with the microbubbles, was crossing the BBB. “We hope this means the chemotherapy drug is doing the same thing,” says Canney, who presented his observations last week at the Focused Ultrasound symposium in North Bethesda, Maryland.