MRI Detects pH Changes in the Brain

New research has found a way to see the pH of living brains using a functional MRI (fMRI) method. Researchers now know what an acid brain looks like and are making a link to low pH and brain disorders such as depression, anxiety and more. The above picture is from the University of Iowa Health Care, showing how an MRI can Detect pH Changes, images are shared by Vincent Magnotta, University of Iowa.

"We are interested in the idea that pH might be changing in the functional brain because we've been hot on the trail of receptors that are activated by low pH," says John Wemmie, M.D., Ph.D., a University of Iowa associate professor of psychiatry. "The presence of these receptors implies the possibility that low pH might be playing a signaling role in normal brain function." Wemmie's studies have shown that these acid-sensing proteins are required for normal fear responses and for learning and memory in mice. However, while you can buy a kit to measure the pH (acidity) of your garden soil, there currently is no easy way to measure pH changes in the brain. 

According to a report by Vincent Magnotta, the same UI researchers have developed an fMRI-based method to detect and monitor pH changes in human living brains. Images show fMRI brain scans of human subject breathing air or air containing 7.5 percent carbon dioxide. The difference between the two scans shows increased brain acidity in red caused by carbon dioxide inhalation as measured by the new fMRI-based strategy. In other words, a more acid a brain can cause diminished function. 

"Our study tells us, first, we have a technique that we believe can measure pH changes in the brain, and second, this fMRI-based technique suggests that pH changes do occur with brain function," Magnotta says. "The results support our original idea that brain activity can change local pH in human brains during normal activity, meaning that pH change in conjunction with the pH-sensitive receptors could be part of a signaling system that affects brain activity and cognitive function," Wemmie adds.

This begs the question, could an acid brain be the source of dark negative thoughts? What comes first dark thoughts leading to bad habits and deeds — or — poor eating habits that equate to depression, bipolar disorder, Alzheimer’s and dark moods? This gives new meaning to the old adage you are what you eat. We don’t need to lose our minds as we age, it’s not a natural occurrence of growing old. Listed below are some brain facts. Note particularly that the brain is 75% water and 60% fat. Healthy fat and pure water are also a must for balanced pH. Fat does not make us fat, sugar and refined grains make us fat. They also make us acid! An acid mind thinks toxic thoughts. Clear the cobwebs of the mind by becoming more alkaline today. 

13 Brain Facts

  1. Weight. The weight of the human brain is about 3 lbs.

  2. Cerebrum. The cerebrum is the largest part of the brain and makes up 85% of the brain’s weight.

  3. Skin. Your skin weighs twice as much as your brain.

  4. Gray matter. The brain’s gray matter is made up of neurons, which gather and transmit signals.

  5. White matter. The white matter is made up of dendrites and axons, which create the network by which neurons send their signals.

  6. Gray and white. Your brain is 60% white matter and 40% gray matter.

  7. Water. The brain is made up of about 75% water.

  8. Neurons. Your brain consists of about 100 billion neurons.

  9. Synapses. There are anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 synapses for each neuron.

  10. No pain. There are no pain receptors in the brain, so the brain can feel no pain.

  11. Largest brain. While an elephant’s brain is physically larger than a human brain, the human brain is 2% of total body weight (compared to 0.15% of an elephant’s brain), meaning humans have the largest brain to body size.

  12. Blood vessels. There are 100,000 miles of blood vessels in the brain.

  13. Fat. The human brain is the fattest organ in the body and consists of at least 60% fat.

Monica Pallares