Pioneering surgery for MS clears British woman of disease symptoms
Alex Gibbs © MDV 2010Doctors believe they have cured a British woman of multiple sclerosis after a pioneering operation.
For years sufferers have been told there is no cure for MS, but the apparent success of the surgery has given new hope to those who are battling the disease, which attacks the nervous system.
And Alex Gibbs is so certain she has now beaten the disease that she has even become pregnant – something she would never have dared do before.
Alex, 38, travelled to the United States last June after reading on the internet about the breakthrough procedure, which involves widening the veins.
She contacted surgeons in the UK and asked them to perform the surgery but none would agree.
Alex, from Chelsea, West London, said: “I’ve only had MS since 2004. But I got it really badly right from the start.
“I couldn’t walk more than 300ft without having to stop. I had stiff limbs and muscle spasms through the night in my sleep.
“My future didn’t look very good having such severe MS at the outset. Normally it worsens slowly. Within a couple of years I would probably have been in a wheelchair.”
Many experts believe MS is caused by a faulty immune system, but a number of doctors now believe damage caused to the nervous system in MS is actually from poor blood flow in the chest, neck and head.
One is Italian surgeon Paulo Zamboni, whose solution is to widen the veins using a balloon or thin metal tubes. Alex had followed the work of Prof Zamboni, who cured his wife of MS five years ago and has now cured 100 more patients.
As no UK doctors who specialise in MS are prepared to carry out Zamboni’s procedure until further studies are carried out, Alex went to California, where a surgeon at Stanford University was willing to perform the procedure.
After the £5,000 op which widened her jugular veins, Alex’s symptoms improved immediately.
Alex – whose mum died of MS at 68 – just months before she was diagnosed, reported back to her MS consultant at the National Hospital in London.
She said: “He’s not convinced by Zamboni’s research, but he has accepted that my symptoms have improved. And the lesions on my brain caused by the MS have not worsened.”
Source: sundaymirror.co.uk © Mirror Group Newspapers 2010 (17/01/10)