Of all the research I have read on neurodegenerative diseases, brain scans are perhaps the most cumbersome because it relates so much to physics and mathmatical medicine. As unbelievable as it may seem, physical anthropology papers can be far worse, almost as if they are speaking in a different language, which is unfortunate because, physical anthropology is loaded with practical information when it comes to health issues related to upright posture. It is extremely important to the current hot topic of neurodegenerative diseases.
According to physical anthropologist Dr. Dean Falk (who incidently majored in math before undertaking physical anthropology) of the University of Florida, humans and hominids developed extra venous drainage outlets in the base of the skull to offset the increase in blood flow that comes from upright posture. Those extra outlets drain into the vertebral veins of the spine, not the jugular veins. Furthermore, the lowest outlets lie below the level of the jugular foramen in the floor of the basement of the cranial vault.
In her paper Evolution of Cranial Blood Drainage in Hominids: Enlarged Occipital/Marginal Sinuses and Emissary Foramina published in 1986, Falk describes numerous design variations, some of which led to the design variations currently found in humans, which are great in number. Many people as Schelling noted, have large discrepancies, for example, in the size of the jugular and other outlets. I have personally seen skulls with a large jugular foramen on one side and a small one on the other. In other cases, openings that were normally found were absent. This is important because design issues, as well as certain diseases, can affect the drainage capacity and efficiency of the system. Consequently, they may predispose certain cases to venous drainage issues. What’s particulary interesting about Schelling’s findings of discrepancies in designs of drainage outlets in crania is that they were associated with known cases of MS.
In addition to research into the drainage system of the human brain, physical anthropology contains a great deal of practical forensic physical evidence in the form of normal and pathological skulls, as well as the artificially deformed skulls I studied. The science of physcial anthropology needs to get involved in this research.
I sent complimentary copies of my book to Dr. Falk, as well as Dr. Dan Lieberman of Harvard University. Dr. Lieberman is better known as the barefoot doctor. His interests are in health issues related to upright posture. One of his interests is in the bent base of the human skull, the same as mine. It would be great to get both Falk and Lieberman, or other experts of the same caliber, involved in this research. The bent base and design of the drainage system is most important to this research. There are far too many anatomical variations to deal with in physiological studies. Time will tell. Eventually, the subject may hook someone in physcial anthropology.