chemical messengers, which white
blood cells release in response to
inflammation. In this case, they
also signal the lining of the blood
vessels in the brain to release similar
messengers into brain tissue, which
changes the way brain cells work.
When certain brain cells change,
behaviour can also change.
This discovery has attracted other
researchers, including Dr. Bradley
Kerr, a chronic pain researcher at
the University of Alberta, who now
works with Pittman to study chronic
pain in multiple sclerosis (MS)
patients. Collaborative Research and
Innovation Opportunities Project
funding from AIHS supports their
team’s work. “MS patients have
abnormal pain sensitivity,” Kerr says.
“Even when the disease is in a quiet
phase, pain can plague these patients.
If we knew exactly how the periphery
New research shows inflammatory
diseases can change the brain as well
as communicate with it. Exciting
results are coming from a Calgary
pilot study of people with a liver
disease called primary biliary
cirrhosis, which causes the body’s
immune system to slowly destroy