Dear Éiriú Eolas family,
We in the North hemisphere are bidding the summer farewell, and vacation is over for most of us. We are now getting ready to go back to our routine. Routine helps us be more organized and effective with everything we need to do on a daily basis, but we know that unfortunately with it, comes stress. Having the Éiriú Eolas program at hand however, you have the tool to bring your stress under control AND heal your body, mind and spirit at the same time. So keep up with your regular practice, especially Pipe Breathing and Meditation everyday!
For our September issue, we found some articles that deal with the subject of inflammation and the vagus nerve’s role in reducing inflammation. Remember that inflammation is linked to every known mood, behaviour, attention, memory, and neuro-degenerative disease. As the vagus nerve is stimulated, it releases the neurotransmitter molecule acetylcholine, which is able to shut off abnormal immune system responses, inflammation being one of them. Isn’t it amazing that just proper breathing alone can help you regain your health, and even save your life, or the life of someone you care about?
We are also proud to present our featured teacher, Ingrid Tulloch of New York City. Her enthusiasm and dedication is inspiring to all of us who teach the Éiriú Eolas program.
And lastly, Éiriú Eolas has given it’s first three-day workshop, discussing not only the program itself, but lectures on diet, nutrition, and dealing with the problem of difficult, sometimes psychopathic people you may have in your life. We hope to be bringing this life-changing presentation to other part of the world soon. Enjoy the photos of this special event in Lille, France, here: http://eiriu-eolas.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=170
We hope that you will find this information useful to you, and we are looking forward to see you in class!
The Éiriú Eolas Teachers
Meet the teacher: Ingid Tulloch-Martin
Ingrid Tulloch-Martin is happily married to fellow Eiriu Eolas instructor Elan Martin and together they live with their daughter and two cats that are experts at stimulating their vagus nerve. She holds degrees in Psychology from The City University of New York. In between teaching undergraduate psychology, writing her PhD dissertation on mechanisms of recovery from methamphetamine-induced neural toxicity, and the work of everyday living, she practices and teaches the Eiriu Eolas detoxification and rejuvenation system in New York City.
After a year of doing Eiriu Eolas, it’s amazing how different I feel physically, emotionally and spiritually. A year and a half ago I was constantly fatigued, my blood pressure was off the charts, I was 20 lbs heavier and every minor crisis became an insurmountable obstacle. Today I can truly say this is no longer the case, Eiriu Eolas rejuvenated my life!
New understanding of vagus nerve’s role in regulating inflammation
It used to be dogma that the brain was shut away from the actions of the immune system, shielded from the outside forces of nature.
But that’s not how it is at all. In fact, thanks to the scientific detective work of Kevin Tracey, MD, it turns out that the brain talks directly to the immune system, sending commands that control the body’s inflammatory response to infection and autoimmune diseases.
Understanding the intimate relationship is leading to a novel way to treat diseases triggered by a dangerous inflammatory response.
Dr. Tracey, director and chief executive of The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, will be giving the 2007 Stetten Lecture on Wednesday, Oct. 24, at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. His talk – Physiology and Immunology of the Cholinergic Anti-inflammatory Pathway – will highlight the discoveries made in his laboratory and the clinical trials underway to test the theory that stimulation of the vagus nerve could block a rogue inflammatory response and treat a number of diseases, including life-threatening sepsis.
With this new understanding of the vagus nerve’s role in regulating inflammation, scientists believe that they can tap into the body’s natural healing defenses and calm the sepsis storm before it wipes out its victims. Each year, 750,000 people in the United States develop severe sepsis, and 215,000 will die no matter how hard doctors fight to save them. Sepsis is triggered by the body’s own overpowering immune response to a systemic infection, and hospitals are the battlegrounds for these potentially lethal conditions.
The vagus nerve is located in the brainstem and snakes down from the brain to the heart and on through to the abdomen. Dr. Tracey and others are now studying ways of altering the brain’s response or targeting the immune system itself as a way to control diseases.
Dr. Tracey is a neurosurgeon who came into research through the back door of the operating room. More than two decades ago, he was treating a young girl whose body had been accidentally scorched by boiling water and she was fighting for her life to overcome sepsis. She didn’t make it. Dr. Tracey headed into the laboratory to figure out why the body makes its own cells that can do fatal damage. Dr. Tracey discovered that the vagus nerve speaks directly to the immune system through a neurochemical called acetylcholine. And stimulating the vagus nerve sent commands to the immune system to stop pumping out toxic inflammatory markers. “This was so surprising to us,” said Dr. Tracey, who immediately saw the potential to use vagus stimulation as a way to shut off abnormal immune system responses. He calls this network “the inflammatory reflex.”
Research is now underway to see whether tweaking the brain’s acetylcholine system could be a natural way to control the inflammatory response. Inflammation is key to many diseases – from autoimmune conditions like Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis to Alzheimer’s, where scientists have identified a strong inflammatory component.
Dr. Tracey has presented his work to the Dalai Lama, who has shown a great interest in the neurosciences and the mind-body connection. He has also written a book called “Fatal Sequence,” about the double-edge sword of the immune system.
Headquartered in Manhasset, NY, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is home to international scientific leaders in Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, psychiatric disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, sepsis, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, human genetics, leukemia, lymphoma, neuroimmunology, and medicinal chemistry. The Feinstein Institute, part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, ranks in the top 6th percentile of all National Institutes of Health grants awarded to research centers. Feinstein researchers are developing new drugs and drug targets, and producing results where science meets the patient. For more information, please visit http://www.FeinsteinInstitute.org or http://feinsteininstitute.typepad.com/feinsteinweblog/
Inflammatory Mast Cells Silenced
In a previous article, I outlined the role of the vagus nerve in responding to infection/damage signals by producing signals that inhibit inflammation. In a recent article (ref. below), the role of the vagus nerve in gut inflammation was examined using real-time biophotonic labeling. Basically that means that a video camera sensitive to infrared can be used to detect infrared dyes produced when NFkB is activated — the camera is able to visualize regions of inflammation in living mice. Using this technique, researchers were able to demonstrate that cutting the vagus nerve produced heightened inflammation in gut treated with an irritant. The vagus nerve appears to stimulate regulatory T cells that lower the activity of inflammatory cells.
The studies were performed in a mouse line constructed to express an infrared fluorescent protein in cells in which the inflammation transcription factor, NFkB, is activated. Mice of this strain were prepared with and without the vagus nerve intact leading to the intestines. The mice were then exposed to sodium dextran sulfate (DSS) to simulate inflammatory bowel disease symptoms.
Cutting the Vagus Nerve Permits Inflammation
Mice with intact vagus nerves exhibited much less inflammation in their gut than those without vagus innervation. The cut vagus experiments demonstrated that the vagus nerve was responsible for suppressing inflammation. Further experiments were performed to determine if the inflammatory and anti-inflammatory reactions could be transferred to other mice by transferring cells from the treated mice.
Regulatory T Cells (CD4+, CD25+) Block Inflammation
Transfer experiments showed that inflammatory T cells (CD4+, CD25-) from cut vagus, DSS mice would cause bowel inflammation in other mice, but that did not happen with the same type of cells from mice with intact vagus nerves. Further tests showed that either cutting the vagus or adding inflammatory T cells from a mouse with a cut vagus, reduced the population of regulatory T cells (CD4+, CD25+) in control mice treated with DSS. So, without the vagus stimulation, the regulatory T cell population declined in the presence of inflammatory signals.
Absence of Regulatory T Cells Can Explain Many Inflammatory Diseases
In many inflammatory diseases, e.g. celiac, Crohn’s disease, rosacea, there appears to be a deficiency of regulatory T cells. In the absence regulatory T cells, signals from vagus nerves will no longer produce anti-inflammatory suppression. In fact the same nerve signals may become inflammatory. This would explain why rosaceans will become inflamed by hot or cold stimulation that would normally lead to anti-inflammatory stimulation of regulatory T cells. Similarly, capsaicin, castor oil and menthol, which normally produce an anti-inflammatory response, produce inflammation in rosaceans.
O’Mahony C, van der Kleij HP, Bienenstock J, Shanahan F, O’Mahony L. 2009. Loss of vagal anti-inflammatory effect – in vivo visualization and adoptive transfer. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. Aug 12. [Epub ahead of print]