Recent research into Professor Zamboni’s « Liberation Procedure » has focused on his idea that blood « refluxes » (backs up) into the brain/central nervous system because of stenosed or damaged veins, thereby triggering an inflammatory response which damages the myelin sheath and other tissue. He proposes opening blood flow through the stenosed veins with “balloon” venoplasty.
While results have been promising, questions persist. Not all people exhibiting stenosis of the veins have MS, not all MS patients have stenosis (or CCSVI). Some patients enjoy spectacular recoveries after venoplasty, others see little or no improvement. Through experience and the use of the Intravenous Ultrasound, Interventional Radiologists have dramatically reduced an early high rate of Jugular vein problems. Because of opposition to the procedure by those attached to the auto-immune theory of MS, CCSVI has been marginalized. The FDA’s opposition to MS Venoplasty (or PTA) outside of authorized clinical trials means that insurance companies in the US no longer will pay for the procedure (which even current researchers have declared without danger.) It is estimated that up to 30,000 MS venoplasties have been performed worldwide but reports on the outcomes are sketchy at best. These varied results seem to cast doubt on his theory. However, I believe his idea is substantially correct.
While the stenosed- vein- in -need -of -venoplasty theory is being questioned, the blood reflux theory is gaining ground. Dr. Zamboni’s insight has provoked a general theory of MS as an obstruction of free flow of Central Nervous System fluids (blood- arteries and veins-, cerebrospinal fluid, water). Indeed, veinous blood DOES reflux into the brain to damage it, but not necessarily because the vein is defective or blocked. For example, the problem may not be a problem IN the vein but rather pressure ON the vein by cerebrospinal fluid (or misplaced vertebrae) which obstructs the free flow of the blood.
In my opinion this gives rise to potentially THREE SOLUTIONS to the venous blood reflux phenomena associated with MS.
1) Relieve body tension or 2) Correct skeletal pathology or 3) Open blocked veins with venoplasty.
OPTION 1) RELIEVE BODY TENSION
This treatment option is the easiest and most accessible for most MSers. My site MS Cure Enigmas.net is meant to address principally the body tension factor which I believe in itself can trigger the veinous blood reflux leading to neurological damage. My approach is more practical than theoretical. I have a problem, I needed to find ways to deal with it. I trust my own experience, research and yes “radical” thinking can serve as the starting point to help others think through their own issues and find appropriate solutions.
DIET: My first healing beginning 1984 came through the treatment of a Kinesiologist/Nutritionist who determined food intolerances (to glutens, lactose, chemicals etc) and prescribed DETOXIFICATION, OPTIMAL DIET AND NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS. There have been many testimonies about impressive healing through diet alone. See Roger MacDougall, Dr. Roy Swank, Dr. Terry Wahls (You Tube: TEDx Iowa City “Minding Your Mitochondria”), or on the site This is Ms.com jimmylegs and for diabetics lyndacarol (leaky gut syndrome aka intestinal permeability) and Leonard ( A new concept for MS).
Some vein experts have said they can’t understand how diet change could possibly stop CCSVI blood refluxes. STRESS is the key word. Some foods can act as toxins against which the body mounts a tension-inducing defence. Tension alone can cause the blood reflux. Once removed, the body can relax to allow the blood flow unhindered through the CNS. And too optimal nutrition will heal any damaged tissue.
Unfortunately diet alone is not enough for me. I need other therapies to relax tension and enhance fluid circulation such as acupuncture, acupressure, kinesiology, French osteopathy or massage. (Dr. Wahl does more than diet as well since she electrically stimulates the meridian on her back which enhances blood/fluid circulation through the CNS). Swimming the crawl is by far the best therapy for me. A severe emotional trauma in 1987 triggered an attack even though I was scrupulously following my diet and now I realize I could have stopped it with blood circulation enhancement. In some circumstances optimal diet alone is insufficient.
When I read about “Liberation Therapy” summer 2010 (on Daily Kos!) I immediately requested an upper back/neck massage to send blood flow from the head towards the heart and it worked, I could stop an attack. Subsequently I treated myself with TENS Acupressure to open the blood flow, again with success. I’m convinced had I known this 20 years ago I wouldn’t need a cane to walk today.
Emotional stress, ANY stress, can force the blood into the CNS leading to an attack, at least in my case.
It is strange to me that vein specialists should doubt the power of emotion to impact veinous blood flow when one considers how blood rushes to the sexual organs given the slightest provocation.
OPTION TWO: CORRECT SKELETAL PATHOLOGY
The Chiropractor Dr. Michael Flanagan (upright doc) of This is ms.com gives a good basic description of what he believes is happening in MS.
From Thisisms.com Oct 25 2013 CCSVI and CCVBP upright doc
“ Sluggish blood, lymph and CSF circulation, however, leads to the accumulation of metabolic wastes and pathogens that can cause inflammation and immunological reactions. By the time MS signs and symptoms show up it's typically a combination of problems, including orthopedic problems that tend to get overlooked”
“I do agree that venous blood reflux is a probable cause of the supratentorial, periventricular and perivascular location of the classic MS lesions. (Violent venous reflux most likely occurs in whiplash type injuries. The course the venous blood follows from the vertebral veins into the brain is determined by the layout of the cranial vault and dural sinuses)...In my opinion, venoplasty causes a siphon effect that increases drainage of the the brain, which improves blood and CSF flow. It should be a consideration regardless of whether or not the patient has stenosis or faulty valves. (In some cases it may eliminate the need for CSF shunts.”” ) "End quote
Upright Doc believes that up to two thirds of MS patients suffer in fact skeletal problems that impede free flow of CNS fluids. If an accident triggers off MS symptoms, the first thing to consider is damage to the spine, neck and head. Dr. Damadian estimates it takes up to 11 years for MS to develop after an accident as the body structure deteriorates over time. When I hear that a man who does physically demanding work (or sport) develops “aggressive” MS, the first thing that comes to my mind is trauma to the spine/neck/head.
One will need to undergo diagnostic exams such as x rays and upright MRI’s, and will require Chiropractic adjustments and/or surgery. Therapists can be found under NUCCA (National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association) or Atlas Orthogonal Chiropractors. Resources: Dr. Michael Flanagan, Dr. Scott Rosa – FONAR upright MRI. Dr. Schelling, Dr. Raymond Damadian
The Downside of Upright Posture by Dr. Michael Flanagan “.Dr. Flanagan's research into the fluid mechanics of the brain - including the unique design of the sutures and base of the human skull - led to the discovery of a clear and unmistakable link between upright posture of Homo sapiens and neurodegenerative diseases seen in aging adults. This "link" is the cervical spine - especially the upper cervical spine and base of the skull - which contains key circulatory routes for blood and cerebrospinal fluid flow entering and exiting the brain. “ (Quote taken from book’s blog)
OPTION THREE: VENOPLASTY
Once the above options have proved inadequate, PTA (Percutaneous Transluminal Angioplasty) or Venoplasty might be considered.
ThisIsMs.com. features a very informative CCSVI thread. See "Dr. Sclafani answers some questions" (which recently passed one million views.) It is particularly informative since Dr. Sclafani presents reports of venoplasties he has performed complete with photos. An excellent example revealing how CCSVI treatment has evolved can be found on page 519 May 21, 2013. Dr. Sclafani performed venography of "both dural sinuses, jugular veins, brachioicephalic veins, azygos vein, left renal vein, and ascending lumbar vein and the inferior vena cava". He has performed over 500 venoplasties.
I myself have decided against venoplasty. January 2012 I resumed my diet after a long interlude (1992-2012) during which I lost some mobility on my right side. Since I read about the blood reflux theory summer 2010 I have been able to stop or minimize MS attacks. Nonetheless I know I am gradually losing ground. During sleep the CNS fluids probably stagnate and cause some nerve damage. However, I am now 65 and assume I can still walk (with a cane) for at least 15 years (age 80!). I don’t want to take the risk of being worse off than I am now, because I really am just fine except for the relatively minor neurological deficits.
Let’s take another example. About 15 years ago a badly handicapped French woman told me that while in India she had enjoyed an Ayurvedic massage in which several women worked on her and afterwards she could walk normally again. This made no sense to me at the time, but now I realize she must have CCSVI venous stenosis. Her testimony resembles that of successful balloon angioplasty which opens the venous blood flow in MS patients implying that the massage opened up blood flow to the Central Nervous System. Upon returning to France she lost the benefits of the treatment. Acupuncture helped her, probably by enhancing blood circulation, but nothing like the dramatic improvement in India. She probably has a serious vein stenosis and is in need of angioplasty (or needs daily massages- an unlikely
possibility). Since massage DID OPEN her blood/fluid circulation, I assume her bony structure does not impede it. Young and faced with a rapidly declining condition, I believe she might well have been a good candidate for venoplasty.
OPTION FOUR: SURGERY AND VENOPLASTY
Donnchadh writes on Thisisms.com, under “Atlas Compression of IJV”
Nov 26 2013 “ My "hunch" turned out to be correct-there was a bone spur on the right hand side of the C1 atlas vertebrae which was compressing the IJV…”
Dec 2 2013…”Turns out that the IJV was flattened against a bony knob on the Atlas; in addition it was also thethered to it. The neurosurgeon removed [ground by diamond drill] this and the IJV is now completely free… The next step is to have a venoplasty to break up the stenosis… It is now apparent why all the previous venoplasty attempts had failed.”
Donnchadh was able to find a highly skilled OPENMINDED Neurosurgeon to remove bone spurs which were obstructing venous blood flow.
Obviously one will need a very skilled Surgeon to treat such a condition. Massage and Diet won’t work nor will Venoplasty alone. His treating Neurosurgeon did not want to be identified given this unorthodox approach to treating MS.
Dr. Zamboni is continuing research on the multiple aspects of Neurodegenerative disease. Again on Thisisms.com see the thread “Dr. Zamboni’s SPECT & PECT research”.
With the venous blood reflux idea, Dr. Zamboni has let the cat out of the bag. There is an explosion of research into all possible ramifications suggested by his idea. Neurologists who are the first to see patients troubled by symptoms of paralysis should help direct them to appropriate therapists. It appears that will take time. For now patients must seek solutions in light of their own personal experience and research. I hope this synopsis will be of help.
Previously published on MS Cure Enigmas.net and Thisisms.com