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Viewpoint

I wonder if Richard Pryor

suffered neck trauma By Phil Colpas, Managing Editor S

ince I was way too young to listen to his albums and watch his fi lms, Richard Pryor has been my favorite comedian. Despite the fact that he spoke in the patois of the street and cursed a great deal, his humor was not scatological; in fact, his comedy insights were often anecdotal in nature, and imbued with a great deal of knowledge about the human condition. It broke my heart when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), and we watched helplessly as he devolved from a once-vibrant, verbose slickster to a wheelchair-bound infi rm who had diffi culty speaking. Thanks to healthcare IT, new fi ndings could help shed some light on what actually causes MS – and how it may one day be cured. Last month in a newly published paper, medical researchers at FONAR Corporation reported a diagnostic breakthrough in MS, based on observations made possible by the company’s FONAR UPRIGHT Multi-Position MRI. The fi ndings reveal that the cause of MS may be related to earlier trauma to the neck, which can result in obstruction of the fl ow of cerebrospinal fl uid (CSF), produced and stored in the central anatomic structures of the brain known as the ventricles. Since the ventricles produce a large volume of CSF each day (500 cc), the obstruction can result in a build-up of pressure within the ventricles, resulting in leakage of the CSF into the surrounding brain tissue. This leakage could be responsible for generating the brain lesions of multiple sclerosis. The paper, “The Possible Role of Cranio-Cervical Trauma and Abnormal CSF Hydrodynamics in the Genesis of Multiple Sclerosis,” appears in the journal Physiological Chemistry and Physics and Medical NMR (Sept. 20, 2011, 41: 1-17). It is co-authored by MRI researchers Raymond V. Damadian, who in- vented the MRI, and David Chu.

The disease results in the destruction of the coverings, or myelin sheaths, that insulate the nerve fi bers of the brain. The destruction prevents the nerves from functioning normally and produces the symptoms of MS. The destruction is the origin of the lesions seen on the MRI images.

But, unlike nerve tissue, the myelin sheaths can regenerate – once the cause of their destruction is eliminated. The paper suggests that surgical or biome- chanical remediation of the obstruction of the fl ow of CSF in the cervical spine could relieve the increased CSF pressure within the ventricles and eliminate the resultant leakage of fl uid into the surrounding brain tissue and the infl ammation of the myelin sheaths that it generates. Once the leakage has been stopped, the myelin sheaths could be repaired by the body’s myelogenesis process with the prospect of a return to normal nerve function. As someone who suffers from a neck injury, these fi ndings make me nervous; yet it’s because of incredible discoveries such as this that I remain cautiously optimistic about the future of healthcare IT. Enjoy the issue.

T

Healthcare Information Systems Solutions since 1980 Publisher/ Executive Editor

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