http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/20 ... dy-110313/
CTV.ca News Staff
Date: Sunday Mar. 13, 2011 10:13 PM ET
A number of multiple sclerosis patients who sought out an experimental treatment in the United States received measurable results, according to a new medical study.
The treatment is based on research by an Italian physician named Paolo Zamboni, who found abnormalities in the veins that drain blood from the brain and spine in people who suffer from MS. He dubbed the condition CCSVI, or chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency, and set about alleviating the blockages.
A preliminary study, due to be presented at a meeting in Italy on Monday, adds weight to Zamboni's hypothesis.
Researchers in the U.S. studied 20 patients with MS and found that, compared to 20 healthy people, the MS patients suffered from impaired blood flow to the brain.
The study, which hasn't been independently reviewed, was led by a San Diego-based group called the Hubbard Foundation, which is using functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine CCSVI.
The study's results link problems with blood flow in the brain to delays in blood circulation in the jugular veins, as Dr. Zamboni theorized.
"The blood is lingering longer and taking longer to get out again," said Dr. David Hubbard, a neurosurgeon who founded the group.
But after MS patients received angioplasty treatment to open blockages in jugular veins, the study found that blood flow in the brain improved.
"Their venous flow in their brain looks normal again," said Dr. Hubbard, who began studying the CCSVI theory after his son was diagnosed with MS at age 19.
If the study's findings can be replicated, it suggests that improvements that MS patients report after angioplasty treatment are not simply a placebo effect.
A number of U.S. centres are also considering studying questions posed by the new CCSVI theory and the experimental angioplasty treatment.
With a report from CTV's medical specialist Avis Favaro