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August 2010

Cranial Sutures and CCSVI

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The skull is made up of cartilagenous and membranous bones. The cartilagenous bones make up the base of the skull and are more related to the musculoskeletal system of the spine. In contrast, the membranous bones form the cover over the cranial vault of the brain. They are called membranous bones because in childhood they grow within the outer membrane of the brain and typically, but not always, follow the brain’s growth.

The membranous bones of the skull are separated by large spaces in infants that later start to close as a child matures. The special joints that join the membranous bones together are called sutures because their unusual shapes looked like stitches to early anatomists. All bones are a reflection of the stresses that strain them. In this case the stress that strains the sutures comes from veins within the membranous bones called diploe. The sutures thus provide forensic evidence of drainage issues in the brain.

My investigation into the role of venous drainage issues in neurodegenerative diseases began sometime around 1984 while I was studying artificially deformed skulls from former indigenous people of Peru and Bolivia. The wide open state of some of the skull’s sutures that should have been closed caused me to look into hydrocephalus. Hydrocephalus in turn led to a condition called normal pressure hydrocephlaus or NPH, which is sometimes associated with Alzheimer’s disease. AD next led to Parkinson’s disease because they sometimes share a suspicious and strange relationship in that one condition can progress into the other. AD also affects the periventricular areas of the brain, which is where the lesions in MS are often found. Consequently, MS kept turning up in my searches and so it got included in my research from the start. The biggest problem for me, however, was explaining the peculiar characteristics of the locations of the lesions seen in MS. One of those unusual characteristics is that the lesions tend to be located around the largest veins in the brain.

Schelling similarly began his research into the peculiar lesions of MS sometime around 1974 while studying skulls. In contrast to the sutures of the skull, however, Schelling got started after he noticed large differences in the jugular and other venous outlets of the skull in MS patients. The jugular foramen are the large holes you see in the picture, on the left and right side of the foramen magnum which  is located in the middle. Schelling’s research provided many of the answers I was looking for when it came to the lesions of MS. I will do my best to summarize his findings in future posts. For now, I believe that what Schelling saw was skulls with design issues associated with reduced venous drainage capacity of the brain. In other words, what Schelling saw in the skulls way back in 1974 was forensic evidence of the role of CCSVI in causing MS.

Drainage issues such as those I saw in the artificially deformed skulls, hydrocehalus, and many other pathological skulls, including those with drainage design issues such as undersized jugular foramen, exaggerate the affects of hydraulic stress within the sutures of the membranous bones and cause them to stay open. These open sutures were exactly what I saw during my research. Just think, if venous pressure can carve bones and cause the sutures to stay open, imagine what water pressure within the skull, due to poor drainage issues, can do to the much softer tissues of the brain. I will discuss MS signs, symptoms and lesions due to drainage issues in future posts.

Dr. Zamboni only recently started looking into the role of venous drainage issues in neurodegenerative diseases after his wife became afflicted with MS. Consequently, he may be unaware of the full ramifications of CCSVI, and his surgical procedure which, is in terms of its development, in its infancy. There is far more to CCSVI than simply MS, and his liberation procedure may have far greater justification for its use in many more patients than           Dr. Zamboni ever imagined when he first began his research. 

MS is just the tip of the iceberg. It is my opinion that humans are predisposed to neurodegenerative diseases due to the design of the skull, spine and circulatory system of the brain as a result of upright posture. Some designs are less than perfect. In contrast to stenosis of distant jugular and thoracic veins causing CCSVI, I believe more people are affected by reduced drainage capacity issues in the skull and brain. Time will tell. In either case, the liberation procedure is probably the best answer for many cases of reduced drainage capacity due to design issues and it will most likely continue to evolve and improve. There is much more to this story.

Brainstem and Venous Liberation

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Among other things, trauma has been associated with what is called Chiari conditions, also know as cerebellum tonsillar ectopia or CTE. Chairi conditions are  classified according to the severity of the depth of penentration of the cerebellum into the foramen magnum. One of the areas often involved are the tonsils of the cerebellum.

I won’t go into all the ramifications of deformation of the relationship between the brain and cord within the foramen magnum and spinal canal here. Suffice it to say, however, that they most likely don’t deform together. Instead the head and neck and the rest of the spine twist and deform around the brainstem and cord.

The brainstem liberation procedure requires reduction of the strain in the structure that surrounds it. By realigning the foramen magnum in base of the skull with the spinal canal the strain and deformation of the brainstem and cord is reduced and their position within thier respective canals, likewise, returns to normal thus liberating the brainstem and vertebral veins.

The upper cervical spine provides the greatest leverage and contact point for attempting to reduce the strain. The upper cervical spine in this case is carefully assessed and realigned to the base of the skull with a thrust from various types of forces in use by different methodologies in chiropractic. Some use their hands. Some use little hammers and some use sound waves. Some use short snappy little thrusts. Others use longer slow sustained  pressure. None are uncomfortable to the patient. No anesthesia is required.

This is an old picture of a knee chest toggle recoil type of upper cervical adjustment, which is the original method developed by BJ Palmer and what I was taught in school. In this case, the force is delivered through a small point of the the pisaform (wrist bone) of the doctor’s contact hand. A quick snap of the arms delivers a precise shallow force, which was followed by an instant recoil of the arms along with a body release by the doctor. Before working on other students we trained our muscles to snap appropriately and worked on mechanical speeders. Chiropractors would have contests at symposiums to see who could work on a speeder, with an egg placed on top, without breaking the egg. It was a tough challenge indeed but the purpose behind it was to demonstrate how shallow a force is needed with the addition of speed to produce a desired result. The desired result being to put the vertebra in motion in the desired direction. The original procedure has gone through many modifications and improvements.

There may be other equally valid ways of liberating the brainstem and vertebral veins, but for now, only upper cervical chiropractic has the research behind it and is the least invasive. This is just as important and just as significant to MS research as the venous stenosis theory. Nobody has all the answers yet. We are simply scratching at the surface of a whole new direction in research far different than the immunological or inflammatory theory paths we have been following for decades without much in the way of results. I am sure that there is going to be much more to this unfolding story. Upright brain scans and MR angiorgrams will provide more clues.

CCSVI versus Venous Back Jets

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Austrian physician, Dr. Alfons Schelling has spent most of his career studying MS. In contrast to Dr. Zamboni, Schelling believes that the supratentorial periventricular lesions that have a predilection for areas surrounding the larger veins in the brain, are caused by venous back jets into the brain. As opposed to stenosis, back jets make sense due to CCSVI when it comes to the MS lesions seen on brain scans.

Dr. Schelling currently maintains that one of the possible sources for the back jets comes from normal cardiorespiratory waves that are transmitted to the brain due to faulty valves in the jugular veins. In addition to Dr. Schelling’s theory, another possible source is trauma, such as whiplash injuries that cause violent back jets of venous blood and cerebrospinal fluid from the cord back into the brain in what is called reverse or inversion flows. Unlike the jugular veins, the vertebral veins and the veins of the brain have no valves to check or prevent back flows. Schelling’s theory makes far more sense in explaining MS lesions but fails to explain the ongoing nature of remissions and exacerbations in MS signs and symptoms.

In contrast to Dr. Schelling, it is my opinion that normal cardiorespiratory waves are not likely to be the source of injuries due to inversion flows except in rare cases. With this in mind, my investigative studies included bats, whales and giraffes because of their exposure to extreme inversion flows. It appears that humans and other mammals developed compensatory mechanisms to deal with normal inversion flows. I cover this in depth in my book. Furthermore, the theory of venous back jets into the brain due to incompetant valves in the jugular veins, likewise fails to explain the peculiar demographics associated with MS the same as CCSVI due to stenosis in jugular routes. In other words, if incompentant jugular valves were the cause, then it follows that people living in southern climates, Asians and Eskimos must have a lower incidence of incompetant valves to explain the lower incidence of MS. This is highly unlikely.

CCSVI due to stenosis, and venous back jets into the brain causing MS lesions are two important new theories regarding neurodegenerative diseases that need further research. Additionally, I would like to offer a third theory similar to CCSVI but not due to venous stenosis. Rather than questionable ultrasound studies, it is based on solid anthropological, pathological and comparative anatomical forensic evidence etched into the bones of the skull, as well as solid physiological evidence from upright Phase Contrast MR scans, and many anecdotal case studies. In addition, I would like to see epidemiological studies done. 

I will be discussing the above and more in future posts. For now, my theory has to do with micromechanical plastic strains and deformation of the upper cervical spine and base of the skull causing back pressure against the basement veins and sluggish outflow from the brain.