MS Society Awards UT Researcher $490K to Study Link Between Blood Flow and Cognition

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Bart Rypma

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has awarded Dr. Bart Rypma, an associate professor at the Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas, a more than $490,000 grant to study how changes in blood flow in the brain might affect cognition in people with multiple sclerosis (MS).

The grant builds on previous research by Dr. Rypma into dysfunctions in brain networks and the cognitive effects on MS. In the new project, 80 MS patients will undergo structural and functional brain imaging and neuropsychological evaluation, with researchers collecting specific measurements using the latest  imaging techniques, calibrated functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and diffusion kurtosis imaging.

According to a press release, the UT study will be the first to collect such measures in a single MS patient group using these imaging tools.

Bart Rypma
Dr. Bart Rypma, standing, of the Center for BrainHealth at UT Dallas, is studying cognition in multiple sclerosis. (Credit: Randy Anderson)

Brain imaging is a technique that allows researchers to observe the neural metabolic rate (where oxygen is delivered within the brain), how much oxygen is consumed by brain cells, and how changes to these factors can lead to cognitive slowing. Imaging is one of the Center for BrainHealth’s specialties.

“Multiple sclerosis affects over 2.3 million people worldwide, and those diagnosed often complain of an overall slowing of thought,” said Dr. Rypma, PhD, who holds the Meadows Foundation chair at UT Dallas. “Still, very little is known about what changes occur in the brain that cause cognitive slowing in MS. Using fMRI to examine cerebral blood flow and neural metabolic rate, we hope to pinpoint the brain systems responsible.”

The research project will also assess which brain systems — visual, motor, or executive — are most accountable for cognitive slowing.

“Cognitive changes affect at least one half or more of people with MS,” said  Nicholas LaRocca, PhD, the National MS Society’s vice president for Health Care Delivery and Policy Research. “Dr. Rypma’s study explores a biological basis that may help to explain these changes. This work can propel the knowledge necessary to provide everyday solutions for the cognitive problems experienced by people with MS.”

Over 60 funded research projects into brain resilience, brain regeneration, cognitive capacity, and brain training are currently being conducted at the  Center for BrainHealth by neuroscientists.


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  1. Patricia Ellis says:

    This is fantasic! My husband and teen daughter both have MS! We stronly believe blood flow is connect. They both were treated for CCSVI with result in benefits! Exciting news!

  2. Shasha says:

    Sugar/gluten swell my brain/body…which lowers oxygen. Soy blocks my thyroid/lowers oxygen. Dairy hurt my brain…got seizures. GMO may hurt the gut lining in addition to gluten/antibiotics/Lyme etc. Roundup on GMO may hurt the good bacteria in the intestines which help convert T4 to T3 and multiply B vitamins. Gluten is wheat/barley/rye…oats/corn. I have to have a strict Celiac diet to be ok. Some eat the Paleo diet since even rice has a tiny amount of gluten. LDN may help 99% of MS people as it helps block hidden gluten and helps the immune system work right.

  3. Shasha says:

    I need bioidentical hormones…estriol/progesterone/testosterone. Estriol helps circulation in my brain. Progesterone helps my adrenals/immune system/energy/sleep/gets thyroid medicine into my cells/lower swelling. Testosterone helps energy/muscles/counteracts swelling due to estriol. Studies that gave lots of estriol to MS people didn’t make sense to me since they didn’t take Progesterone/testosterone with it. Bioidentical hormones may help blood pressure/oxygen/energy in the brain/body.

    • Mike says:

      Shasha, that’s a lot of unsubstantiated conjectures in your two posts. Have you got any evidence for any of it and, if so, could you please post it?

      • Shasha says:

        HI, It is what I do and I figured out my MS…didn’t need millions of dollars. It is due to low oxygen in my brain. I have 17 years of research that lead me to these conclusions about my MS and know my MS friends are similiar to me.

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