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article imageBuffalo study on MS patients shows promise for new treatment

By Stephanie Dearing     Feb 11, 2010 in Health
Neurology scientists at the University of Buffalo released preliminary findings of blind imaging studies of MS patients Tuesday, saying the results were encouraging.
Buffalo, New York - The hotly anticipated preliminary results of a blind study that examined M.S. patients and other people for constriction of extracranial veins was released by the Buffalo University-based Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center. These first findings are based on the study of 500 patients, not all of whom have multiple sclerosis said researchers in a press release Tuesday. The study will continue to examine another 500 people. Associate Professor Robert Zivadinov, who directs the Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center expressed that he was "... cautiously optimistic and excited. The data encourage us to continue on the same course. They show that narrowing of the extracranial veins, at the very least, is an important association in multiple sclerosis. We will know more when the MRI and other data collected in the CTEVD study are available."
The study is the first step in proving or disproving the Italian doctor's theory about Multiple Scerlosis. Last fall, Dr. Zamboni went public with his research findings that appear to demonstrate that M.S. is caused by a constriction of veins in the neck, along with an accumulation of iron in the brain. After patients were operated on to dilate the veins in their necks, the results were dramatic, with many people appearing to have been cured of their M.S.
Dr. Zamboni's theory hypothesizes that chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI), or the constriction of extracranial veins is the cause of multiple sclerosis. The Buffalo study found 56.4% of people with M.S. also had vein constriction. Of the normal, healthy participants, 22.4% had narrowed veins. Zadinov said because of the sample size, "... the presence of CCSVI did suggest an association with disease progression, a finding that was not shown in Zamboni's smaller cohort. The finding that 22.4 percent of healthy controls also met two CCSVI criteria requires continuing investigation."
While the preliminary research from Buffalo seems to point toward's Zamboni's theory as being relevant for some M.S. patients, caution is advised. When the news of Zamboni's discovery broke last fall, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada advised people to wait until research on CCSVI is concluded before trying to get treatment. "The CCSVI hypothesis is still in the early days of research and is not a proven therapy for MS. As well, specialized equipment and training is needed to test for the condition. For these reasons, CCSVI cannot be easily tested for or treated.
Additionally, for safety reasons, the MS Society does not recommend that people with MS be examined or treated for CCSVI outside of an established research protocol."
McMaster University just announced a collaboration with St. Joseph Hospital and Hamilton Health Services to further study Dr. Zamboni's theory of CCSVI. The research only has room for 100 people, but some 22,000 people have already tried to volunteer for the research.
Dr. Zamboni is happy to see his research being replicated, but has been advocating that M.S. sufferers get tested, and where possible, undergo endovascular treatment. That position has been criticized by Canadian doctors who say Zamboni is being irresponsible by giving people false hope.
More about Multiple sclerosis, Zamboni, Extra cranial veins, Endovascular surgery, Mcmaster university
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