No big deal or anything. There's a whole hidden network in your body that scientists JUST discovered.

This is big. HUGE. Especially for autoimmune and neurological disease sufferers.

You thought human anatomy was pretty well figured out by now, right?

That whole Gray's Anatomy thing has been around quite a while (the medical reference book, not the show, silly).

You'd be wrong. We all were.


GIF from "Grey's Anatomy."

Scientists just discovered there are vessels connecting our brains to our lymphatic systems.

GIF from "Grey's Anatomy."

Your brain and your immune system have been secretly in cahoots your whole life.

It's such a big deal that one researcher said (probably while his jaw was on the floor), "They'll have to change the textbooks."

It might change everything for sufferers of autoimmune and neurological diseases.

Map of the lymphatic system: traditional (left) and as redrawn by the University of Virginia's discovery.

"I really did not believe there are structures in the body that we are not aware of. I thought the body was mapped. ... I thought that these discoveries ended somewhere around the middle of the last century. But apparently they have not."
— Jonathan Kipnis, Ph.D., UVA researcher

Since 20% of the U.S. population suffers from autoimmune diseases and as of 2012 an estimated 5.4 million people are afflicted with Alzheimer's disease, this discovery could have ripple effects and ultimately change the quality of life for many.

How can this change the game? There are so many possibilities — both known and unknown.

Here's one example: In Alzheimer's disease patients, doctors know that one of the factors present in afflicted brains is an accumulation of protein chunks. The lymphatic connection could present a potential cause — for instance, if they find that vessels in healthy brains are disposing of that protein properly but the vessels in afflicted brains aren't. It's a new place that researchers can begin looking, and it means they might be that much closer to figuring out Alzheimer's disease — and, who knows, even a cure?

Overall, it means that instead of approaching the immuno-neurology connection like it's some sort of mystical voodoo...

GIF by Neue Modern.

...doctors can start coming at it mechanistically.

Clip via Josh Thompson.

And that is a step in the right direction.

Isn't it amazing to know we're never done figuring out what we think we've already finished exploring?

Heroes
LUSH

Handmade cosmetics company Lush is putting its money where its mouth is and taking a bold step for climate change action.

On September 20 in the U.S. and September 27 in Canada, Lush will shut the doors of its 250 shops, e-commerce sites, manufacturing facilities, and headquarters for a day, in solidarity with the Global Climate Strike taking place around the world. Lush is encouraging its 5000+ employees "to join this critical movement and take a stand until global leaders are forced to face the climate crisis and enact change."

Keep Reading Show less
Planet
Photo by Annie Bolin on Unsplash

Recent tragic mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton have sparked a lot of conversation and action on the state level over the issue of gun control. But none may be as encouraging as the most recent one, in which 145 CEOs signed a letter urging the U.S. Senate to take action at their level.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

The fine folks at Forbes are currently falling all over themselves trying to clean up the mess they created by publishing their 2019 list of 100 Most Innovative Leaders.

The problem: The list included 99 men and one woman. For those not so good with the math, that means according to Forbes, only 1% of the country's most innovative leaders are female.

Have you ever watched a movie that's so abysmally bad that you wonder how it ever even got made? Where you think, "Hundreds and hundreds of people had to have been directly involved in the production of this film. Did any of them ever think to say, 'Hey, maybe we should just scrap this idea altogether?"

That's how it feels to see a list like this. So how did Forbes come up with these results?

Keep Reading Show less
Innovation

There's something delicious and addicting about those trendy recipe videos circulating online. You've seen them before: the quick and beautiful play-by-plays of mouthwatering dishes you wish you were eating at this very moment.

The recipes seem so simple and magical and get you thinking, "Maybe I can make that five-cheese bacon lasagna tonight." And before you know it, you're at the store loading up on Colby-Monterey Jack (or is that just me?).

For some families, though, the ingredients and final product look a little different. As part of Hunger Action Month, the hunger-relief organization Feeding America is using our obsession with cooking videos to highlight the reality many food-insecure families face when they sit down for dinner: hunger, and no food in sight.

By putting a twist on the bite-sized food videos all over the internet, they hope to raise awareness that hunger is an unacceptable reality for too many families.

Keep Reading Show less
Family
True
Gates Foundation: The Story of Food