AUG 20, 2018 6:31 AM PDT

Yes, Your Brain Can Clean Itself

The lymphatic system is the body's way of keeping cells moving along. It's an integral part of the circulatory system as well as the immune system. Lymph is a clear fluid that carries immune cells to lymph nodes. It’s also a crucial part of clearing cellular waste from the body. In 2015, neuroscientist Jonathan Kipnis at UVA and his team discovered that the brain does indeed have a lymphatic system. For hundreds of years, it was believed that there was no way to "drain the brain" of cellular waste products. The brain sits in about half a cup of lymphatic fluid and produces about 24 ml of fluid every hour. Clearly, that all has to go somewhere. The brain’s lymphatic system can be compared to the pipes and sewers that take waste out of our homes and dispose of it, but the brain does so in a much less messy way.

Waste from the brain seeps out of the blood vessels into lymphatic vessels that are located in the dura of the brain. Recent research shows that this drainage system could be a factor in neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The lymphatic system also plays a role in moving immune cells around to where they need to be. Lymphatic vessels do not have a protective layer that keeps out toxins like the blood-brain barrier does for cerebral blood vessels. This means the immune system can be disrupted, but now that researchers know it exists, more studies can be done to find how it impacts brain health.

About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
DEC 28, 2020
Space & Astronomy
China Willing to Share New Moon Samples
DEC 28, 2020
China Willing to Share New Moon Samples
China has recovered the first new moon rock samples in decades, and from a previously unexplored part of the moon. Now w ...
APR 01, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Astronomers Detect X-rays from Uranus for First Time
APR 01, 2021
Astronomers Detect X-rays from Uranus for First Time
Until now, astronomers had detected X-rays from every planet in our solar system apart from the two Ice Giants: Uranus a ...
MAY 13, 2021
Plants & Animals
Brood X Cicadas Are Here - Help Scientists Track Them
MAY 13, 2021
Brood X Cicadas Are Here - Help Scientists Track Them
Download this smartphone app to help document one of North America's natural wonders.
MAY 23, 2021
Space & Astronomy
More Accurate Clocks Create More Disorder in the Universe
MAY 23, 2021
More Accurate Clocks Create More Disorder in the Universe
Physicists at the University of Oxford in the UK have conducted an experiment that suggests the more accurately clocks t ...
JUN 05, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Washington State University Opens Cannabis Research Center
JUN 05, 2021
Washington State University Opens Cannabis Research Center
Washington State University (WSU) has announced the opening of a multi-disciplinary research center with nearly 100 scie ...
JUL 09, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Wearable Tech for...Plants?
JUL 09, 2021
Wearable Tech for...Plants?
Researchers have developed a "wearable" patch to detect the gaseous substances plants emit when diseased or stressed,
Loading Comments...