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On first thoughts you probably might agree Homeland Security and brain health do indeed make for an odd couple. However, all is not what it seems for, in at least one major aspect, they have much in common.

Surprised? Let me explain…

As you are probably aware, a key feature Not sure of Homeland Security strategy is border protection. The purpose of border protection is to put in place and enforce a selection process by which a particular country can determine whom and what enters and leaves. Border protection is supported by a range of measures from physical barriers through to the most sophisticated surveillance technology.

So where does brain health fit in?

Well, the brain too has a security strategy. I like to call it Brainland Security. And the Brainland security strategy also has border protection as a key factor. In Brainland, border protection is provided primarily by the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB).

In a purpose similar to Homeland border protection, the BBB acts to select what passes in and out of Brainland. Don’t you think it’s remarkable how similar the two protection strategies appear to be?

I hope so, because we’re about to look at them in more detail…

1) Homeland Security – country border protection

1.1 The purposes of border protection include to:

* Keep out ordinary people who attempt to enter without permission
* Keep out drugs
* Prevent arms smuggling
* Keep out known terrorists and would-be terrorists
* Generally reduce the threat to people and infrastructures.

1.2 How border protection may be compromised:

* Completely bypassing the barrier – under, over, around
* Find holes
* Make holes
* Corruption
* Distraction
* Creative hiding
* Disguise… are a few examples.

2) Brainland Security – brain border protection

2.1 The function and purpose of the brain’s checkpoint, the BBB

* To selectively allow the entry of certain molecules that circulate in the blood into the brain. [a molecule is the smallest particle of a substance that still has the properties of the substance]
* Protect the brain from invasion by various toxins and other harmful molecules.
* Allow out anything dangerous to the brain.

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