Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency Is Not a Cause of Multiple Sclerosis

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blood flowCharles Moore, Science and Research Editor of Multiple Sclerosis News Today, recently reported two controversial, potential treatment options for multiple sclerosis. The first, “liberation therapy,” was conjured by Dr. Paolo Zamboni in 2009, and new evidence published in Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) shows it may be futile in treating multiple sclerosis.

“Liberation therapy” is designed to address chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI), a condition of compromised blood flow in veins flowing away from the central nervous system. The controversy lies in whether or not CCSVI causes multiple sclerosis, which makes the “liberation procedure” to open veins and improve blood flow a potentially unnecessary hazardous procedure.

The CMAJ study, led by principal investigator Dr. Michael Hill and lead author Dr. Fiona Costello from the University of  Calgary, seems to have settled the controversy. The researchers involved found no difference in venous outflow abnormalities between control participants and multiple sclerosis patients. According to a press release, Dr. Costello said, “We detected no link between chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiencies and multiple sclerosis.”

Sixty healthy controls and 120 multiple sclerosis patients were monitored for CCSVI using gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance venography and extracranial Doppler ultrasonography. Trained radiologists, who were unaware of the health status of participants, used the proposed criteria for CCSVI to diagnose CCSVI. In both samples, high proportions of participants were diagnosed with CCSVI: 58% of patients and 63% of controls met one or more of the criteria, and 20% of patients and 10% of controls met two or more of the criteria. The differences were insignificant.

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“We also identified several methodologic concerns that challenge the validity of the criteria used to define chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency, and in turn we dispute the authenticity of this diagnosis,” said Dr. Costello. Therefore, more harm than good may come from a diagnosis of CCSVI using the currently proposed criteria.

For the more than 2.3 million multiple sclerosis patients worldwide, this may mean one less treatment option. However, a wide range of therapeutics are pursued constantly, and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, as reported by Charles Moore, may be another feasible option.

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Maureen Newman is a science columnist for BioNews Texas. She is currently a PhD student studying biomedical engineering at University of Rochester, working towards a career of research in biomaterials for drug delivery and regenerative medicine. She is an integral part of Dr. Danielle Benoit's laboratory, where she is investigating bone-homing therapeutics for osteoporosis treatment.
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  1. LYNNE HEAL says:

    One neurologist is being sued for naysaying CCSVI thankfully. CCSVI has helped over 40,000 worldwide . Too many have made billions out of MS drugs via profits shares and commissions one drug even had furniture polish added to it. Thats whats really going on. Why has NO data ever been kept of MS patients who have died and what MS drugs they all took ?

    • Roger Rabbit says:

      Ms Heal, CCSVI stands for “chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency.” How any one can be sued for “naysaying” that is beyond belief, and how this statement has helped “40,000 people makes no sense whatsoever.

  2. Sam M says:

    I have MS and I had the CCSVI procedure done in 2011. If I remember correctly, I had 33% jugular stenosis in one vein and 73% in another. After angioplasties, my MS was not cured, but my fatigue (which was debilitating, sometimes led to sleeping 16 hours a day, but always required daily naps) was completely eliminated. Why these studies focus on whether CCSVI cures MS seems almost ridiculous. For people who suffer from the symptoms of this horrendous condition, any procedure that provides substantial relief to patients should be lauded. Whether or not the CCSVI procedure cures MS, the procedure changed my life in a very beneficial way.

  3. All that matters is that patient response to balloon angioplasty is nothing short of miraculous. Instead of trying to debunk the theory, they should be trying to explain why it is so amazing. I have seen it in my own wife and I put before and after and side by side videos on youtube. It is not possible to explain this with placebo effect. And mine is not the only before and after videos. There is also Dawn Skinner. She is ms free for 4 years now. That is a huge deal. My wife was in huge difficulty in the summer of 2013,. To the emergency room 3 times, 3 or 4 serious falls, she could barely walk a hundred meters and her balance and morning brain fog were awful. Balance and brain fog issues are completely cleared now. For a whole year. And her right arm used to be cold like a corpse. Now she is warm like a human again. My videos are at

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