The Ecology of Humans (26-21) Brain Malady

 Brain Malady

A long-known fact is that brain tumors are almost always of glia cells. These tumors would not be so devastating if neurons were running the show.

Cognitive diseases – such as autism, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s – occur from defective glia, not neurons.

In all degenerative brain diseases, the first symptom, even before the loss of mental faculty, is loss of a sense of smell. Smell receptor cells actively lock onto ambient molecules for detection, requiring frequent replacement of these receptors. Hence, sense of smell is constantly changing, and an apt indicator of holistic health.

The olfactory bulb has the highest turnover of cells in the brain. Glia are the stem cells for this turnover.

Glia manage the cleaning network in the brain: the glymphatic system. Guided by glia, cerebrospinal fluid flushes out metabolic debris. The glymphatic system is especially active during sleep: whence the rejuvenation of repose. Chronic lack of sleep is an influential factor in developing Alzheimer’s: glia getting shortchanged in their housekeeping duties. Meanwhile, like blaming the potholes as the reason a road is bad, neurologists focus their research into Alzheimer’s on the proteins that aggregate in neurons; a byproduct of the disease, not the cause.

Seizures are generally attributed to out-of-sync overexcited neurons. But the cause is glial cells with out-of-control calcium exchanges.

Almost all brain research is focused on neurons to the exclusion of glia. Only occasional articles express surprise at discovering that white matter matters.