The Incredible Shrinking Brain

Like Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis is a neurodegenerative disease.

Neurodegeneration is the progressive loss of structure or function of neurons, including death of neurons. Many neurodegenerative diseases – including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Huntington’s disease – occur as a result of neurodegenerative processes. Such diseases are incurable, resulting in progressive degeneration and/or death of neuron cells.  As research progresses, many similarities appear that relate these diseases to one another on a sub-cellular level.

First, everyone needs to know that starting at the age of 40, your brain will shrink about 5% every 10 years. This is a normal part of the aging process, just like wrinkles in you skin, gray in your hair our brains show signs of aging. Once a person reaches the age of 60 the atrophy becomes a little quicker.

People with neurodegenerative diseases will experience more atrophy at a faster rate. Atrophy of the brain happens with neuron cell death, and the connections between those neurons.

High Dose Biotin (300mg) has been shown in several studies to help slow down atrophy in MS brains. This B vitamin is considered safe to take at high doses because your body does not store this and just gets rid of any extra. The recommended daily dose is 30mcg for normal, healthy people. It is thought that high dose biotin can help repair the damaged myelin around the damaged neurons. Studies are happening around the world for Primary Progressive and Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis and how high dose biotin can possibly slow the progression of the disease and assist with pain, energy, vision and partial paralysis.

In Alzheimer’s patients, low hippocampal volume is the marker before any other symptoms show. In MS patients the atrophy does not stick to one particular area of the brain. Since brain atrophy causes diminished communication between neurons, and myelin break down does the same it’s not really surprising that atrophy is increased in those with MS and causes more disability progression.

A paper published this year regarding a study of healthy individuals and MS patients looked at the lateral ventricular volume and white matter volume in similar age groups. The study showed that in people with MS showed that of the groups, 30-69 year old patients had increased lateral ventricular volume compared to “healthy” people. In addition, MS patients showed decrease in white matter volume for groups between the ages of 20-59 years of age.

Excitingly, there is software now that can automatically takes these measurements during the annual MRIs most of us MS patients get. At my local MS Center they use NeuroQuant software and the report is automatically saved on the disc with images when I leave with it the same day. NeuroSTREAM is just one of the other options, there are a couple others and with new technology advances I am excited to see what comes next.

I personally, have the last 4 years of my measurement reports and I keep them in my bullet journal I use to track symptoms, activities, and daily health stats like temp, blood pressure and others.

Not everyone is going to want to have this information and will just let their healthcare professionals give them the information they feel is valid, and that is completely okay. Personally, I love the information, I like having it ready and it gives me time to process the information and form educational questions that I feel are valid.

 

 

Need to Know: High-dose Biotin Protocol

High-Dose Biotin May Be an Effective Treatment for Progressive MS

https://www.mstrust.org.uk/a-z/md1003-biotin

https://www.mstrust.org.uk/news/news-about-ms/high-dose-biotin-withdrawn-european-licensing

https://www.healthline.com/health/brain-atrophy

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/31074192/

Brain Atrophy in MS Patients May Soon Be More Easily and Routinely Examined

 

One Month on Keto so far

I started Keto on September 7th for my brain health for MS. (healthy high fat diets have proven to be good to neurological diseases) I have been asked several if it is helping, that’s not an easy question to answer.

I have not noticed a difference in my functioning since starting keto, my energy level is still low, my pain is still there (depends on what I have done during each day), my words still don’t work.

What I have noticed is that my hormones (due to PCOS) have leveled out (fingers crossed it helps my alopecia). I have lost 13.61 pounds and 13 total inches.

When I nerd out at my next doctor appointment I will have a bunch of blood work done to see if it has changed anything on that level. It’s hard, especially because I love sugar, but it’s manageable and since it’s a lifestyle change for me and not a diet I am allowing myself the occasional treat so that I can sustain this change long term.

Checking In

I realized a couple of days ago that I am in kind of a slump emotionally. This year has been a whirlwind of one thing after another and most of it has been stressful.

I haven’t felt like blogging, reading, genealogy or anything. Today I had therapy and was discussing how I’m just not feeling it. My mind of course goes first to my anxiety meds, changed over a month ago, do they need to be adjusted?

We discussed all the things that have been happening, my switch to keto which is going fairly well. I mentioned Oak (service dog) had a vet check last week and his public access test yesterday. I went to my second graders class too to discuss Service dogs, the different jobs they do and what you can and should not ask/do.

When she asked me how I felt about all those positive things I had no answer… Fine I guess.

Then I told her about the upcoming MRI on Thursday, the annual check of lesions and atrophy of my brain. I love MRIs, I love looking at the disc of images, how else would you ever get to see your brain?!

With her help I discovered the anxiety that comes with this imaging. Being denied my medication for so long before finally starting a new med that I had a lot of side effects from. There is so much pending this test that consciously I wasn’t noticing.

Did the delay cause more lesions? Did the high dose biotin help reduce the atrophy? When in the previous year there was a huge percentage of atrophy compared to “normal” MS patients.

So while I’m not scared to get in the tube for 45 minutes and I enjoy having information, I am very worried about what the information will be.