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Research Challenging What We Know About Multiple Sclerosis

Research Challenging What We Know About Multiple Sclerosis

What causes multiple sclerosis? There are plenty of theories, but researchers have yet to hone in on the answer.

Researchers at the Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center at the University of Buffalo will be looking into the possibility that MS results from narrowing of the primary veins outside the skull — chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency. In CCSVI, narrowing of the veins restricts the flow of blood from the brain, causing degeneration of neurons.

CCSVI was discovered by Paolo Zamboni, M.D., from Italy’s University of Ferrara. Results of a preliminary study of 16 patients with relapsing/remitting MS and eight healthy controls showed that all the MS patients, but none of the controls, had chronic insufficient blood flow out of the brain.

Combined Transcranial and Extracranial Venous Doppler evaluation in multiple sclerosis and related diseases (CTEVD study) will evaluate blood flow in MS patients compared to health controls and controls with other neurological conditions.

The new study will be based on 1,100 people diagnosed with possible or definite MS and 300 healthy controls, plus 300 patients with other autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases. Enrollment in the study has begun and will continue for two years. MS patients from across the U.S. are eligible to participate.

Participants will undergo clinical examination, Doppler scan of the head and neck, provide blood samples, and will be required to answer an extensive environmental questionnaire.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society lists the main scientific theories about the cause of MS as:

  • Immunologic: An abnormal response of the body’s immune system, causing it to attack myelin in the central nervous system.
  • Environmental: MS occurs in greater numbers the farther you get from the equator. Researchers have been studying migration patterns in an effort to learn if exposure to an environmental agent at an early age may increase risk. Data suggests that people who move before puberty tend to acquire the risk of their new area. Research into the role of vitamin D and clusters of MS cases are ongoing.
  • Infectious: More than a dozen viruses and bacteria are being investigated to determine if they are involved in the development of MS.
  • Genetic: MS is not classified as hereditary, although having a first-degree relative with MS increases the risk. Some researchers theorize that certain people may have a genetic predisposition to react to an environmental cause.

If the CTEVD study does, in fact, point to CCSVI as a cause of MS, it would be possible to identify people at risk of developing MS before symptoms are obvious and permanent damage has begun.

“If we can prove our hypothesis, that cerebrospinal venous insufficiency is the underlying cause of MS,” said Robert Zivadinov, M.D., Ph.D., UB associate professor of neurology, director of the Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center (BNAC) and principal investigator on the study, “it is going to change the face of how we understand MS.” (quote from MedicalNews.net, emphasis mine)

Isolating the cause of MS is the first step toward more effective treatments and, eventually, a cure for this debilitating condition. The good news is that research is ongoing on multiple fronts and the last decade has seen major progress in treatment of relapsing/remitting MS, as well as treatment of symptoms.

Change the face of how we understand MS? If that means finding the cause, it is good news indeed.

Writer Ann Pietrangelo embraces the concept of personal responsibility for health and wellness. As a multiple sclerosis patient, she combines a healthy lifestyle and education with modern medicine, and seeks to provide information and support to others. She is a regular contributor to Care2.com’s Reform Health Policy blog in Causes.

Read more: Blogs, Conditions, Health, Living with MS, Multiple Sclerosis, , , , , , , , ,

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Ann Pietrangelo

Ann Pietrangelo is the author of No More Secs! Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Multiple Sclerosis and Catch That Look: Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Triple-Negative Breast Cancer. She is a freelance writer and member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Follow on Twitter @AnnPietrangelo

10 comments

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3:47PM PDT on Mar 24, 2012

You rock, Ann Pietrangelo! Thank you!

2:22PM PDT on Jun 13, 2011

Thanks Ann.

4:40PM PST on Jan 30, 2010

Thanks, again.

11:49PM PST on Jan 29, 2010

MAJOR development and validation for CCSVI in MS patients. This is great news and I hope this link works, just cut and paste to the address line - http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20100127/ms_treatment_100127/20100127?hub=Health&s_name=

Basically, it says that "an international group of doctors who specialize in disorders of the veins has issued a consensus document on the diagnosis and treatment of these problems, including CCSVI. The International Union of Phlebology officially classified CCSVI as a congenital vascular malformation, outlining official guidelines for diagnosis and treatment."
You can also join my group at "MS Liberation - End Multiple Sclerosis" and I have a petition on the petition site and it only has 14 signatures, "END MS Liberation Treatment". We can do it

5:01PM PST on Jan 18, 2010

It is very promising that people are still looking into causes and reaction to MS. A doctor once told me that he thinks MS is many different diseases that all cause the same thing - multiple scarring in the brain. I think he might be right.

8:27AM PST on Dec 13, 2009

Check out Inclined Therapy for CCSVI and ms on Thisms forum
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3D7tBQfCxQ

Exciting research already providing positve results.
http://www.thisisms.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=6755&start=90



http://www.nature.com/jcbfm/journal/v29/n12/pdf/jcbfm2009180a.pdf Link to paper Review for CCSVI

Andrew


10:31AM PST on Nov 24, 2009

COULD LYME DISEASE BECOME MS?
by Joan V. Mercado - © August 2000

After more than 50 years of research focusing primarily on a virus as the culprit, no one has yet found a cure for MS. There is a tendency by doctors to exclude the possibility of any bacterial involvement or even a conflict between the two, either dormant or active. There’s no clinical proof that stress causes illness, yet most of us believe it does. Relapses frequently occur during stressful times. When we experience a traumatic event, the brain instantly releases adrenalin into our system in addition to other chemicals that lower our resistance to infection, usually resulting in problems with all types of diseases. Stress and depression appear to bring on relapses in many people who will attest to that fact. When we are happy and feeling good, the brain releases chemicals that boost the immune system such as dopamine and endorphins which could, in turn, bring about a state of remission. In trials, statistically, Avonex, Betaseron and Copaxone appeared to have reduced the amount of relapses in MS participants with the relapsing-remitting type by 29-31%. That’s not even a one-third reduction. Patients today still don’t know if any of these three “ABC” drugs are working or if their MS is simply going into remission on its own. It has been said that the T-cells of the immune system receive signals from the brain to combat any disease-carrying germs entering our body, whether it

10:28AM PST on Nov 24, 2009

Preview Your Signature
Date Name State Country Comments
11/24 Joni Mercado NY USA
COULD LYME DISEASE BECOME MS? by Joan V. Mercado - © August 2000 After more than 50 years of research focusing primarily on a virus as the culprit, no one has yet found a cure for MS. There is a tendency by doctors to exclude the possibility of any bacterial involvement or even a conflict between the two, either dormant or active. There’s no clinical proof that stress causes illness, yet most of us believe it does. Relapses frequently occur during stressful times. When we experience a traumatic event, the brain instantly releases adrenalin into our system in addition to other chemicals that lower our resistance to infection, usually resulting in problems with all types of diseases. Stress and depression appear to bring on relapses in many people who will attest to that fact. When we are happy and feeling good, the brain releases chemicals that boost the immune system such as dopamine and endorphins which could, in turn, bring about a state of remission. In trials, statistically, Avonex, Betaseron and Copaxone appeared to have reduced the amount of relapses in MS participants with the relapsing-remitting type by 29-31%. That’s not even a one-third reduction. Patients today still don’t know if any of these three “ABC” drugs are working or if their MS is simply going into remission on its own. It has been said that the T-cells of the immune system receive signals f

6:11AM PST on Nov 4, 2009

This is a possible step forward, but nothing was said about the cause of "narrowing of the primary veins outside the skull — chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency". The basic point needs to be how MS could be prevented or cured. Hopefully, that would be prevention without huge expense.

5:49AM PST on Nov 3, 2009

Hi Reiah,

Thought I'd pass this on..I'm sure u & Mali are already very informed on these studies, but am sending it along anyway,
A.Jen

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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