New research into the relationship between multiple sclerosis (MS) and chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI), finds that CCSVI may actually be the result of MS rather than the cause.
In CCSVI, narrowing of the extracranial veins restricts blood flow from the brain. Dr. Paolo Zamboni, from Italy’s University of Ferrara, discovered the condition and theorized that CCSV results in alterations of the blood flow patterns that cause injury to brain tissue and degeneration of neurons, leading to MS.
Dr. Zamboni’s original study involved a group of 65 patients and 235 controls and showed a link between MS and CCSVI. Around the world, people with MS were excited by Zamboni’s theory and his Liberation Treatment.
The new study’s lead author, Robert Zivadinov, MD, PhD, associate professor of neurology in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and president of the International Society for Neurovascular Disease, said this in a press release:
“Given the intense interest in the hypothesis that CCSVI is a possible cause of MS, independent evaluation of CCSVI was identified as an urgent need.
“Our results indicate that only 56.1 percent of MS patients and 38.1 percent of patients with a condition known as clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), an individual’s first neurological episode, had CCSVI.
“While this may suggest an association between the MS and CCSVI, association does not imply causality. In fact, 42.3 percent of participants classified as having other neurological diseases, as well as 22.7 percent of healthy controls involved in the study, also presented with CCSVI.
“These findings indicate that CCSVI does not have a primary role in causing MS. Our findings are consistent with increased prevalence of CCSVI in MS, but substantially lower than the sensitivity and specificity rates in MS reported originally by the Italian investigators.”
The University of Buffalo study group involved 289 people with MS, 163 healthy participants, 26 with other neurological diseases, and 21 who had experienced only one MS attack. All had transcranial and extracranial echo-Doppler scans of the neck and head.
When positive and negative cases were considered, CCSVI was found in 62.5 percent of MS patients, 45.8 percent of those with other neurological diseases, 42.1 of those with only one MS attack, and in 25.5 percent of the healthy controls.
When the different types of MS are taken into account, those patients in the progressive MS groups had a substantially higher incidence of CCSVI than those in the non-progressive MS groups.
“The higher prevalence of CCSVI in progressive MS patients suggests that CCSVI may be a consequence, rather than a cause, of MS. Therefore, the possibility that CCSVI may be a consequence of MS progression cannot be excluded and should be further investigated,” said Bianca Weinstock-Guttman, MD, co-principal investigator of the study and UB professor of neurology. ”
The study by University of Buffalo researchers is published in the American Academy of Neurology’s journal Neurology.
Related Reading: The Madness and the Mystery of Multiple Sclerosis
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Ann Pietrangelo is the author of “No More Secs! Living, Laughing & Loving Despite Multiple Sclerosis,” a memoir. She is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and The Author’s Guild, and a regular contributor to Care2 Healthy & Green Living and Care2 Causes. Follow on Twitter @AnnPietrangelo