Recently in the past 10 years science has showed a whole new understanding of how the brain cleans itself. What has been discovered is that the brain has a lymphatic system, as well as a Glymphatic system. The lymphatic system carries lymph fluid which is connected to our immune system and detoxification. The Glymphatic system contains the fluid area between astrocyte cells and cappillaries, called the interstitial space, The glymphatic system does not contain lymph fluid. Astrocyte cells of the brain cover approximately 99 percent of all cerebral capillaries . This is a slow clearance of fluid in the central nervous system that removes interstitial fluid (assumed to be CSF), as well as waste products. One of the well known waste products is amyloid beta protein and if that builds up in your brain it is associated Alzheimer’s disease.
Two separate teams of researchers; one team at the University of Virginia, and one team at the University of Helsinki in Finland, independently found lymph vessels in the brain. These vessels, which line the dural sinuses in the brain, carry lymphatic fluid (and immune cells) toward deep nodes of the neck (cervical lymph nodes). It is likely that the Glymphatic system drains the waste from the brain on a more cellular level into the brain's Lymphatic system, to then drain into the lymphatics of the whole body.
What else is interesting is that they have found that Cerebrospinal fluid is absorbed and reabsorbed through the capillaries, and not so much the choroid plexus as thought before. Capillaries are everywhere, and surround the ventricles inside the brain, and the brain itself.
Maiken Nedergaard of the University of Rochester Medical Center identified a system of hydraulic “pipes” running alongside blood vessels in the mouse brain carry cerebrospinal fluid around the brain, and that the fluid enters inter-cellular spaces in the brain tissue, picking up waste on its way.
Nedergaard and her colleagues also discovered that proper function of these vessels depends on movements of water around the brain, which are carried out by glial cells called astrocytes, and therefore named them the glymphatic system. They went on to show that inter-cellular spaces expand by up to 60% in the brains of naturally sleeping mice, as well as mice under anesthesia, and that this expansion drives the clearance of waste from the brain.
Researchers from the University of Virginia identified of lymphatic vessels in the central nervous system that extend into the dura mater, the thickest and outer-most of the three meningeal membranes that envelope the brain and spinal cord. These vessels run parallel to the major veins and arteries, and split to send branches deep into the brain’s crevices. The researchers believe that they could be linked to the glymphatic system, and may be the second stage of the disposal mechanism, which would transport waste out of the brain and spinal cord altogether.
Why is all this cellular detail important to us?
This new research is clarifying connections with understanding brain health and disease. In the case exercise it would explain the influence of exercise on brain health. By increasing circulation from exercise we can expedite elimination of waste products in the brain.
Using your brain for new learning creates new pathways; which help your brain, as blood supply follows brain usage. Craniosacral therapy sessions that augment exhalation and inhalation still points could have powerful results from the inside out. The ventricles/ caves in our brains are lined with capillaries. So this could quite possibly enhance the exchange of glymphatic fluid, and Cerebrospinal fluid. It has recently been discovered that cerebrospinal fluid is absorbed and reabsorbed from capillaries. In terms of concussions and traumatic brain injuries it is highly likely that craniosacral therapy enhances the cleaning of the byproducts of cellular damage from injury.
Maybe we can reach out to Dr Nederguuard to see if she would like to do a study on craniosacral therapy!
Dr Nederguuard's Research Studies showed that Good Sleep and Sleeping on your side increase the opening and flow of the Glymphatic system by up to 60%:
Here are other activities that support optimal brain health:
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