In June of this year over $2.4 million was committed by the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada and the National MS Society (USA) to support seven new research projects focusing on chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) and its relationship to multiple sclerosis (MS). The objective of the projects was to test the CCSVI theory, by checking for abnormal blood flow in the veins in people with MS and healthy controls using ultrasound, MRI or catheters with dye.
Last year, Italian Professor Paolo Zamboni headed a study where, together with Dr. Fabrizio Salvi, he was able to show that after patients with the most common form of MS (Relapsing-Remitting MS) were treated by performing a type of angioplasty to open up narrowed veins, there was a drop in the number of active lesions which persisted for up to 18 months after surgery. Consequently, Professor Zamboni proposed treating MS by inflating small balloons to open up narrowed veins.
CCSVI is also called liberation therapy, because it liberates the blood in the veins flowing from the brain and the spine back to the heart. A narrowing of the veins that drain this blood is the cause of CCSVI. Consequently, blood takes longer to get back to the heart, and it can reflux back into the brain and spine or cause edema and leakage of fluids into the delicate tissue of the brain and spine. It can also cause a lack of oxygen in the brain.
Many people suffering from the debilitating effects of MS have used their own funds to travel to Europe to have the surgery performed. The majority have reported renewed energy and strength.
However, doctors in Canada and the U.S. have recently been ordered to cease treating MS patients using angioplasty. The reasoning is that more research is needed before liberation therapy can be recognized as a treatment for MS. Also it’s unlikely that the necessary blinded clinical trials will ever take place because, logically, how could that work? Would one group of patients be subjected to a pretend angioplasty surgery?
If you don’t have MS and your veins are blocked, chances are a vascular surgeon could perform the same liberation surgery on you to open your veins. If you do have MS, the treatment is not currently available to you. Wonder how much influence the pharmaceuticals industry had on this illogical, unethical decision?