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What Is The Blood-Brain Barrier & Why Is It So Important?

What Is The Blood-Brain Barrier & Why Is It So Important?

The brain is considered to be the most complex organ of the body. It is filled with billions of neurons that blast off from one another and transmit information to other nerve cells, muscles, and glands. Not only is it the most complex organ in the human body, but it is also the most important as it controls and coordinates our actions and reactions, basically putting together all the things that make us human.

Neurons are used to send information from our brain to the rest of our body. With each thought and action, neurons communicate at synapses in which impulses are triggered by the diffusion of specific neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are the “chemical messengers” that send information to the receptors on receiving cells, translating into messages. These messages can trigger a variety of responses in the motor system, nervous system, and any other system in the body.

The brain is much more than the control center for the way we think. The brain allows us to feel, move, see, smell, remember things, make judgments, and so much more. Our brain works full speed every second of the day, even when we are sleeping. In order to function correctly, our brain needs oxygen to produce enough energy to “keep going”. Blood vessels are critical to delivering oxygen and nutrients to all the tissues and organs throughout the body. As a result, the brain is home to a unique network of blood vessels that hold different properties than other vessels – this is termed the blood-brain barrier.

What Exactly Is The Blood-Brain Barrier?

The blood-brain barrier is a thick lining along the cerebral microvasculature that allows for the movement of certain ions, molecules, and cells to continue to move towards the brain. The thick lining of cells is wedged extremely close to each other, forming tight junctions. These tight junctions are what allow specific molecules to pass freely through the capillary wall and into the brain tissue.

What Is The Importance of The BBB?

The main purpose of the blood-brain barrier is to protect the brain from circulating toxins or pathogens, that can cause brain infections, while also allowing essential nutrients to pass through. Although it seems that the blood-brain barrier is helping our brains by limiting what can go in and out, there are cons to this mechanism. The vast majority of potential drug treatments cannot cross the barrier, posing a huge restriction when trying to treat mental and neurological disorders. Neurological disorders that include Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, have all been linked to defective blood-brain barriers. This means that the barriers are keeping out biomolecules that are vital for healthy brain activity, especially in terms of certain drug transports and metabolic processes.

There has been an extensive amount of research conducted on the topic of blood-brain barriers and how it affects the outcomes of certain treatments and procedures. Researchers have established mechanisms that are fully capable of allowing drug delivery to the brain to treat mental and neurological disorders.

The blood-brain barrier may be affecting how your medications are working. It is important to follow-up with your doctor regarding the effectiveness of your treatment plan in order to ensure that it is working properly and interacting appropriately with the BBB. If you have questions regarding this interaction, schedule a call form online or call us directly at (855) 602-3265.

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