A team of researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have made an earth-shattering, textbook-altering discovery: The brain is directly connected to the immune system by vessels we never knew existed before.
"I really did not believe there are structures in the body that we are not aware of. I thought the body was mapped," said co-author Jonathan Kipnis, in a press release. "I thought that these discoveries ended somewhere around the middle of the last century. But apparently they have not."
The researchers found that the brain and immune system are connected through lymphatic vessels, just like every other tissue in the body. So, instead of perceiving the neuro-immune interaction as something shrouded in mystery, scientists can now look at it with much more familiarity.
They are hopeful that this new discovery will shed new light on major neurological diseases, from multiple sclerosis to Alzheimer's.
(h/t UVA Today)
Image via University of Virginia Health System