Since Dr. Paolo Zamboni appeared on Canadian television W5 last week, I have gotten several e-mails and blog comments indicating that many of you would like to know more about CCSVI and the link to multiple sclerosis. I have taken your requests seriously and have pulled the original peer-reviewed papers and presentations about Dr. Zamboni's theory and the actual results on patients.
I am currently working on a series of articles that will present the findings and relevant details and expect to be posting these over the course of the next week or two, after they have successfully passed through medical review, which is the policy here at About.com.
I can tell you a couple of things right now.
CCSVI stands for chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency. Basically, this means that there are blockages and narrowing of some of the most important veins that drain the blood from the brain (and rest of the central nervous system) back to the heart.
The evidence from some studies in people with MS shows that these blockages lead the body to find alternate routes to shunt the blood out of the central nervous system. This leads to strange flow patterns, as the blood has to use other vessels. This is presumed to lead to iron deposits and autoimmune activity, which (according to this theory) accounts for the plaques that are found in MS patients.
If we look at this problem as a simple mechanical dilemma, it seems logical that opening up those closed or narrowed veins would then solve the problem. Blood would flow out of the brain as nature intended and everything would get back on track, right? And, in fact, that scenario was what was presented on Canadian television - a young man who had undergone "Liberation Treatment" to open up these veins gave an emotional testimony about how he had gotten his life back following the procedures. He spoke of a cure for MS.
Now, understandably, many of us want the same experience. We want to speak of the days when we "used to have" MS. We want to schedule a benign procedure that should fix our problems.
There is much more to all of this. I will continue my work to decipher the information at hand. Like everything else in MS, this is not simple. It turns out that there are different patterns of CCSVI which correlate to the different types of MS. It also looks like the "simple procedures" have risks or do not work for everyone.
For some of us, this just might be it - the solution to our MS. For others, this might not be relevant at all. There might be quite a few of us that fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, and we are left to make difficult choices. I don't know.
Let us be hopeful, but let us be rational as we continue to monitor these developments.
Watch the videos here (then come back and tell us what you think): The Liberation Treatment: A whole new approach to MS