It was under our very noses! Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have discovered what's being called the missing link between the brain and the immune system: vessels of the lymphatic system that escaped notice by "hiding" among major blood cells traveling through sinuses. The full study was published in this month's issue of Nature.
It's being called a "stunning discovery" because up until now, no one had completely understood how the brain connects to the immune system. The answer, Gizmag aptly says, is "just like every other tissue in the body."
For the layperson, its effect on our understanding of the human body is best summed up by this image:
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That such vessels could have escaped detection when the lymphatic system has been so thoroughly mapped throughout the body is surprising on its own, but the true significance of the discovery lies in the effects it could have on the study and treatment of neurological diseases ranging from autism to Alzheimer's disease to multiple sclerosis. [Neuroscience News]
As the chairman of the UVA Department of Neuroscience told Neuroscience News, "They'll have to change the textbooks."
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