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Studies in 2011 could decide MS theory's validity

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  • Studies in 2011 could decide MS theory's validity

    Studies in 2011 could decide MS theory's validity

    The Canadian Press

    Date: Monday Dec. 27, 2010 12:31 PM ET

    TORONTO — Almost exactly a year ago, a theory about a potential contributing cause of multiple sclerosis burst into the public consciousness. For many MS sufferers, it seemed an answer to their prayers; for the medical community it was variously viewed as a promising notion worthy of investigation to scientific nonsense or even an outright scam.

    What can be said for certain, however, is that no other medical story has dominated the headlines in 2010 as the contention by an Italian vascular surgeon that narrowed neck veins could be an underlying cause of MS.

    Dr. Paolo Zamboni speculates that reduced blood flow leaves iron deposits in the brain, leading to the neural lesions typical of MS. He suggests that reversing the condition -- dubbed chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency, or CCSVI -- by unblocking neck veins could help alleviate patients' symptoms or possibly halt progression of the debilitating disease.

    News of his theory created an avalanche of interest among people with MS and their loved ones, fuelled by discussion on Internet social media sites, YouTube testimonials by MSers "liberated" by Zamboni's suggested technique for opening up the blood vessels, and hundreds of articles in the mainstream media.


  • #2
    I had a discussion about this procedure with my cardiologist (minor heart attack in 2000...triple by-pass...watched closely ever since). He told me that the current literature indicated this treatment was most sucessfull in patients with significant narrowing (cholesteral?) in the cartoid arteries in the neck. He ordered an ultrasound, and mine are clear and unobstructed. He said he was doubtful this would help me (SPMS).

    I take 1000mg Niacin twice daily and my cholesteral numbers are 130/64...excellent.

    I think the "successes" reported for this procedure are just another indication that MS tends to be one of those "...well, we don't know what else it is, so we'll call it MS..." diseases.


    • #3
      Originally posted by willingtocope View Post
      I think the "successes" reported for this procedure are just another indication that MS tends to be one of those "...well, we don't know what else it is, so we'll call it MS..." diseases.
      You might well be right. Diagnosis by exclusion leaves so many unanswered questions.

      Regarding what your cardiologist said, the carotid arteries are not implicated in Dr. Zamboni's findings; rather, the culprit is thought to be stenosis due to structural malformations of the jugular and azygos veins (which transport blood from the brain to the heart). Most of the venous malformations found by Dr. Zamboni appear to be congenital, unrelated to cholesterol deposition.
      Last edited by Bonnette; 12-28-2010, 05:10 PM. Reason: punctuation
      MS with cervical and thoracic cord lesions


      • #4

        I may have misspoke...the cardiologist's report did say something to the effect that all my veins and arteries in my neck appeared clear and open.

        But, I'll approach the subject again just to be sure.

        The thing that puzzles me the most is I didn't develop any symptoms until age 60. If my MS was congenital, I would have expected something much earlier.


        • #5
          According to Zamboni, not everyone with these malformations will go on to develop MS, though almost all of the people with diagnosed MS in his studies did have them.

          The malformations, themselves, do not indicate the presence or absence of MS; rather, whether or not a person develops the disease (according to Zamboni's theory) depends upon whether or not a significant amount of iron-rich blood is allowed to cross the blood-brain barrier at the points of these malformations, stimulating inflammation as a natural defensive reaction of the body (with subsequent scarring, or demyelination).

          Malformations of the jugular and/or azygos veins, through their twisting structures and narrowed passages, slow the drainage of the blood from the brain back to the heart; as circulation is sluggish in those regions, blood can pool for a period of time within the malformations, irritating the veins running alongside the nerves, and eventually crossing the barrier between them. Zamboni believes that this mechanism - not a primary neurological or autoimmune problem - is what eventually leads to MS. He does not states that this is the only cause of MS, however. So there is as yet no positive correlation between age at onset and the presence of these malformations.

          Zamboni's theory is controversial at this time, with contradictory results from outside studies. So I'm really hoping that 2011 will lead to greater clarity.
          Last edited by Bonnette; 12-28-2010, 07:13 PM. Reason: addition
          MS with cervical and thoracic cord lesions


          • #6
            It is also believed that there are different types of MS. The vascular surgery might help with one type, and not another.


            • #7
    , I've been trying to find a doctor willing to explore some alternatives. For example, there has been some studies done regarding the connection between MS, spinal menegitis and the bacterium that causes Common Pneumonia. I had SP when I was 5...and I was diagnosed with MS when I was 64. It does seem like a really big reach, but the bacteria involved does appear to morf into something else even after the SP is "cured". I exhibited no real definitive MS symptoms until age 63, when my left arm began to get uncooperative and I started having spasticity in my legs.

              Some studies have shown a remarkable improvement in MS with an agressive treatment with antibiotics.