In 2009 Dr. Paolo Zamboni proposed that multiple sclerosis (MS) is caused by a narrowing of the veins in the neck, which he termed chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI). He developed an angioplasty procedure to reopen the veins known as “liberation therapy.”
Thousands of Canadians with MS have travelled to for-profit medical centres for liberation therapy and approximately 50% of them report an improvement in symptoms.
In early October, Dr. Anthony Traboulsee and colleagues at the University of British Columbia published the results of an assessor-blinded imaging study to measure the narrowing of the internal jugular and azygous veins in MS patients, unaffected siblings and healthy controls. There were no significant differences between the groups in rates of CCSVI or venous narrowing of greater than 50%. The authors conclude that the hypothesis that CCSVI plays a role in the cause of MS in “unlikely.”