Foundation webinar on Iron and Hypoxia

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Rustsmith
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Foundation webinar on Iron and Hypoxia

Postby Rustsmith » Sat Oct 15, 2016 1:29 pm

Yesterday the Foundation presented their webinar on iron and hypoxia. If you missed it, Foundation members can view it on the Foundation website.

I was expecting a rather low tech presentation, was I ever surprised! The information about current research that was presented was at a level that I sometimes found difficult to follow. But the overall concept presented made a lot of sense to me.

The presentation was given by two doctors at Penn State Univ. One is researching iron transport across the blood brain barrier and the other is looking at oxygen transport mechanisms in the body.

The biggest surprise is that they did not find a correlation between ferritin levels and RLS vs controls, but did find correlations with elevated hemaglobin and transferritin in the blood. They were quick to point out that they are not proposing any changes for the treatment of RLS and measurement of ferritin, yet. They are still recommending IV iron as a mode of treatment for RLS and ferritin as a measure for when this may be necessary.

The best summary of their message is that there seems to be something different with the messaging proteins of RLS patients that is telling the entire body that there is a hypoxia (low oxygen) condition. This results in a number of different things that have been reported in the literature of late. Although the oxygen levels are "normal" or maybe a little bit low for us, the error in the signaling is causing things such as increased blood flow to the femoral arteries in the legs and reduced iron transport across the blood brain barrier. The blood flow in the legs is greater in RLS patients than controls under normal conditions and when they create hypoxic conditions by having subjects breathe air with lower oxygen levels, our blood flow does not increase where flow for the controls increases to our "normal" levels.

As for the iron transport into the brain, they said that the body gives first priority for iron to hemaglobin production for oxygen transport. This is logical since neither the brain or the body can survive without oxygen. Iron transport to the brain only occurs when the oxygen transport need is satisfied. But with the improper signalling proteins, RLS brains get the needed iron because the body thinks it needs more oxygen.

They are still looking at the oxygen messaging protein(s) to figure out what is wrong with our systems.

When asked about iron supplements, they said that the human body really isn't set up for adsorbing the iron salts used for oral supplements. Heme iron from red meat works better, but has its limits. They said that the stomach upset caused by taking iron salts is due to bacteria in the gut that are much better at adsorbing iron. These bacteria go crazy when they see the iron salt, steal it from our system and the increased bacteria activity causes the stomach upset problems.

One question about hypoxia resulted in a couple of interesting facts. They reported that past research has shown higher incidence of RLS at higher elevations than at sea level. They also made it quite clear that the level of hypoxia that they are talking about for RLS patients is only slightly higher than for controls. This means that RLS patients are no where near the hypoxia conditions necessary for altitude sickness.

Finally, I don't want anyone to get the wrong message from this. They are not saying that we are hypoxic. Their message is that the messaging protein is causing our bodies to act like we are and that this is the reason why we have low iron in the brain and maybe even why our legs are the first to act up.
Steve

Augmentation Evaluation http://bb.rls.org/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=9005

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Polar Bear
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Re: Foundation webinar on Iron and Hypoxia

Postby Polar Bear » Sat Oct 15, 2016 5:35 pm

Thanks for this Steve, a good summarization.
Betty
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peanut1
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Re: Foundation webinar on Iron and Hypoxia

Postby peanut1 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:04 pm

What a fascinating study! i hope I can get back and look at this even though it's been several months ago. Interesting that it's about oxygen messing up the signals (or something to that effect) rather than the iron not getting to the brain.

ViewsAskew
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Re: Foundation webinar on Iron and Hypoxia

Postby ViewsAskew » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:41 pm

peanut1 wrote:What a fascinating study! i hope I can get back and look at this even though it's been several months ago. Interesting that it's about oxygen messing up the signals (or something to that effect) rather than the iron not getting to the brain.


I think it is both. In the brain autopsies (only 8, IIRC, but all were the same) the brain was deficient in iron and the cells did not work correctly because of that. The cells that are transport dopamine are actually malformed from the lack of iron so that they cannot dock correctly, (this is an old memory - hope it isn't flawed). So, it ends up being a multitude of things all happening in concert to really screw it up!
Ann - Take what you need, leave the rest

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Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.

peanut1
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Re: Foundation webinar on Iron and Hypoxia

Postby peanut1 » Wed Mar 22, 2017 1:33 pm

Heavens, no wonder it's so hard for researchers to figure this out!

ViewsAskew
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Re: Foundation webinar on Iron and Hypoxia

Postby ViewsAskew » Wed Mar 22, 2017 5:46 pm

peanut1 wrote:Heavens, no wonder it's so hard for researchers to figure this out!


Indeed!

When I went to the first conference that the Foundation provided - 2005, IIRC - and was very dismayed to hear Dr Allen (I think) say that the researchers had so many different parts of this that they knew this would not be simple and straightforward - one problem that could be resolved with one change or drug. They had a name for it - I do not remember it, sadly - and said that it makes it very hard to untangle when there are so many inputs that seem unrelated.
Ann - Take what you need, leave the rest



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Opinions presented by Discussion Board Moderators are personal in nature and do not, in any way, represent the opinion of the RLS Foundation, and are not medical advice.


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