Thursday, December 14, 2017 by Rita Winters
Nobody can explain the processes of the brain fully, but there are some things we do know about it, such as the brain’s ability to repair itself called neuroregeneration. When the nerve fibers of the brain lose its protective coating, called myelin, the brain sends adult stem cells to regenerate a new myelin sheet. This process is called myelination (or myelinogenesis). Be that as it may, the regenerative processes is halted when the body is in disease.
Myelin is a substance that surrounds the stem, or axon, of nerve cells, providing the nerve cells with an insulating layer. Myelin is essential in the proper functioning of the nervous system. Unprotected nerve fibers are associated with the development of multiple sclerosis (MS), spinal cord injuries, stroke, neonatal brain injuries, and even Alzheimer’s disease. When nerve fibers lose their protective coating, it becomes extremely vulnerable, causing a loss of ability to transmit signals quickly. Direct results of unprotected nerve fibers include impaired cognition, loss of sensation, and loss of movement.
A study published in Nature Communications reports that blood-clotting proteins called fibrinogen ceases myelination, causing further harm to the individual. The study entitled, “Blood coagulation protein fibrinogen promotes autoimmunity and demyelination via chemokine release and antigen presentation,” was conducted by professor of neurology Katerina Akassoglou, Ph.D. from the University of California San Diego and her team of researchers.
Fibrinogen is a glycoprotein produced by the liver, and helps form clots to prevent excessive bleeding. When this protein travels to the central nervous system, it stop the myelin-producing stem cells from continuing its process, resulting in further injury. The researchers are determined to figure out the mechanisms that drive fibrinogen to cause autoimmunity (immune responses against healthy cells and tissues). By eliminating fibrinogen from the process of myelination, the nerve repairs can resume.
Researchers are focused on conducting further studies to understand fibrinogen and demyelination (halting of myelination). The solution to this autoimmune event would prove useful in developing ways to restore regenerative functions in the central nervous system, which could then lead to groundbreaking therapies to help patients suffering from MS and other myelin-related diseases.
Some studies note that lecithin (phophatidylcholine), a substance composed of choline and other lipid molecules, promotes nerve transmission and can function as a source of choline. Choline is a member of the B-complex family of vitamins which helps the process of myelination. Various studies explain that myelination can be aided by a proper, balanced diet. Thus, regular intake of choline- and lecithin-rich foods may promote nerve health. These foods include eggs, fatty cuts of meat, peanuts, sesame seeds, flaxseeds, and oats. Other foods related to promotion of myelination include fish oil, soy beans, wheat germ, liver, Brussels sprouts, shrimp, and shellfish.
Aside from having a nutritious diet, it is also suggested to maintain a healthy lifestyle in order for your brain to work properly. The brain requires a lot of rest, and it can benefit a lot from getting enough sleep at night. Exercise is also essential in overall wellness, and is proven to decrease the risk of internal injuries and chronic diseases such as aneurysms and dementia.