A New Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Brings Hope. But Why Won't Doctors Touch It?

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My girlfriend is a medical information nut. Her idea of a great hour puttering about on the Internet would be to read up obscure information on every disease you never heard of. And I’ve always teased her about it (sometimes, it was annoyance at the nerdiness of it rather than actual teasing). She had the perfect comeback for my small-mindedness though, when her father was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Right away, as soon as she heard of her father’s unhappy diagnosis, she had him come in to live with us, and she thought of something really important she had read once about a breakout multiple sclerosis treatment method.

The science behind this new approach to multiple sclerosis treatment, comes from an Italian vascular surgeon named Dr.Zamboni (no, not the Zamboni who makes the machines they use in ice hockey rinks). Traditionally, doctors have understood multiple sclerosis as the disease that is caused when our immune system goes and attacks our nervous system. There has traditionally been no real explanation for it. The doctor though, believes that it might be possible to see that the degradation to our nervous system, is caused by a lack of adequate blood supply. If a patient’s veins around the chest , the shoulders and the neck have become narrowed and constricted with age, it is possible that they don’t allow blood to drain properly from the brain. If those veins could be opened up with is an inflatable balloon the way they do it with your blocked arteries, there’s a good chance that you would stop feeling the symptoms of MS. There is some evidence to prove that it actually works as a multiple sclerosis treatment, and it has really inspired patients all over the world.

As with any good new theory, the idea has fanatical support from some people, and terrible scorn from others. So why do the critics disagree with Dr. Zamboni? The thing is, MS isn’t a disease that progresses or slows down in a predictable way. It’s a completely unpredictable disease, and people have attacks for no apparent reason, and remissions just the same. How is any researcher to know that a remission is the work of a multiple sclerosis treatment method that actually works, and not just the naturally unpredictable progress of the disease? If most researchers were not too enthusiastic about trying out this theory, activists from around the world are. And they have harnessed the power of social networking to practically force the Multiple Sclerosis Society to come up with the money to investigate it. It’s all the power of YouTube and Facebook.

As many studies as there have been, things aren’t quite proven one way or the other yet. But it is an idea that has really inspired people interested in and asked for the sake of a loved one. The fact that a multiple sclerosis treatment could exist and be so simple and cheap, has really taken off. They wonder why hospitals can’t just offer this treatment even if it hasn’t been proven. Whatever side effects doctors warn of, MS patients feel that traditional multiple sclerosis treatment options with very punishing drug regimens are no less harmful. There are thousands of MS patients hoping to get treated by Dr. Zamboni himself, who apply at the University of Ferrara where he works.

And there are advertisements you’ll see in the papers here in America for experimental multiple sclerosis treatment of this kind that you could have done at top hospitals in India. They call it the Liberation Package after the name of the procedure the doctor uses of opening up  constricted veins. The good news is, even when there are always people trying this unproven treatment, there haven’t been any real cases with negative effects. A couple of of women have had their procedures go very wrong at Stanford University, but that’s about it. So are there any real success stories?

Well, for this kind of multiple sclerosis treatment, in a limited way, there certainly are some success stories. When patients report wonderful improvements though, the improvements are short-lived. When the doctor opens the patient’s veins up in “the liberation procedure”, the veins close down right back after a couple of weeks. They haven’t found a way to keep them open. When that happens, we could have something.


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