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Oct 22 2021

10/22 – Robert Eisenberg, Rush University

Biomedical Engineering Seminar

October 22, 2021

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM


SEO 236


851 S. Morgan St, Chicago, IL 60607, Chicago, IL 60612

Watch this seminar live here>>

Speaker: Robert Eisenberg, PhD

Flushing Waste in the Central Nervous System

Abstract: The central nervous system has a tiny extracellular space that can be filled with flows from nerve and glia. Potassium ions in that space can easily block signaling in nerve fibers and thus become a toxic waste. Sleep is said to flush toxic wastes from the brain, in the glymphatic hypothesis. Qualitative hypotheses like this are difficult to test and can lead to more discussion than knowledge. Numbers are needed because flows in complex structures are complex. We show how to construct models that are field theories built on conservation laws written as partial differential equations in three dimensions and time with known structures as boundary conditions. Arbitrary compartments are not present in the models. These differential equations of nerve, glia and extracellular space fit experimental data in some detail, as do equations of the lens of the eye. Computation shows that extracellular potassium in optic nerve is maintained by bulk flow, mostly in the glia. The glia acts as a pipe that moves potassium by convection away from the nerve membrane, presumably into blood vessels, as proposed by the glymphatic hypothesis.


UIC Biomedical Engineering

Date posted

Oct 12, 2021

Date updated

Oct 22, 2021