Big news! I am drowning in emails from people advising me that today, November 21, 2009, there is to be a special program on the Canadian CTV channel literally about “iron on the brain!” I’ve had to take my phone off the hook!
It has long been known that iron can indeed accumulate in the brain. In 1989, the late Dr. Leslie Valberg and others, of the University of Western Ontario, published an article on "Abnormalities in Iron Metabolism in Multiple Sclerosis" (Can J. Neurol.Sci, 16: 184 - 186). It is also commonly known that there is iron in the brain of the Parkinson’s patient, and that malaria and cancers need iron to survive as well.
I have personally written reams about the effects of high iron stores on and IN the brain, and I wrote an article about this in the newsletter of the Canadian Hemochromatosis Society in August, 1993.
Hope For Treatment
So it is not that the facts concerning the effects of iron are new. What is sensational is the possibility of a procedure for removing it. As I wrote in 1993, "Chelators and phlebotomies are not effective, because the iron is stored beyond the blood-brain barrier." (Youdim, Ben-Schahar, Riederer, Jellinger of Germany, Israel and Austria). Now from Italy comes news that offers hope.
The rationale is that narrowed veins carrying blood to the brain do not permit the blood to flow through easily (perhaps like a blocked drain), making it difficult for the iron carried in that blood to move through quickly enough; thus, in the same way as it builds up in the bodies of people with hemochromatosis, what I invariably refer to as "that evil with the grinning face of virtue” (a.k.a. iron) is the culprit. If it can be filtered or blood flow can be improved, the build-up could be prevented.