Can an Abnormality in Your Neck Cause MS?
December 15, 2009
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Dr. Paolo Zamboni has come upon an entirely new idea about how to treat multiple sclerosis, one that may profoundly change the lives of patients.
He found that scientists who had studied the brains of MS patients had noticed higher levels of iron in their brain, not accounted for by age. The iron deposits had a unique pattern, often forming in the core of the brain, clustered around the veins that normally drain blood from the head.
Dr. Zamboni wondered if the iron came from blood improperly collecting in the brain. Using Doppler ultrasound, he began examining the necks of MS patients and made an extraordinary finding. Almost 100 percent of the patients had a narrowing, twisting or outright blockage of the veins that are supposed to flush blood from the brain. He then checked these veins in healthy people, and found none of these malformations. Nor did he find these blockages in those with other neurological conditions.
Zamboni dubbed the vein disorder he discovered CCSVI, or Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency. He enlisted the help of vascular surgeon Dr. R. Galeotti. The team began a study in which they treated 65 MS patients to see if endovascular surgery would restore flow in these vessels and lessen MS symptoms.
Preliminary results show patients had a decrease in the number of new MS attacks, a big reduction in the number of brain lesions that define MS, and improved quality of life.
Because the surgery freed the blood flow, the team dubbed the procedure "The Liberation Treatment."
A separate analysis has also shown that marijuana may help multiple sclerosis patients find relief from the muscle spasms that are the hallmark of the debilitating autoimmune disease. After reviewing six studies where marijuana was used by MS patients, researchers found five of the trials showed that marijuana reduced spasms and improved mobility.