Wow, that's a really interesting theory:
It's generally assumed that MS is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks the central nervous system, leading to weakness, extreme fatigue, chronic pain and visual problems. |
But what if MS were really a vascular problem? What if it were caused by a structural defect in the veins, one that could be diagnosed and treated before patients become disabled?
That is the radical theory being presented by Dr. Paolo Zamboni, a former vascular surgeon and professor at the University of Ferrara. Zamboni has been conducting research on MS patients and has noticed that almost all of them have malformed or blocked veins in their neck and chest that take blood away from their brains.
He believes that may be contributing to, or even causing, their Multiple Sclerosis.
"This is a breakthrough because it opens a new opportunity for research," Zamboni told CTV's W5 from his research lab in Ferrara, Italy.
Using ultrasound, Zamboni discovered that almost all MS patients have blocked or twisted veins in their necks and upper chest, while healthy people do not.
Zamboni has dubbed the vein condition CCSVI, or Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency and believes that in those with the condition, blood fails to properly drain from the brain and can even flow back upwards into the brain.
There, the blood could be depositing iron, a substance that is toxic to the brain's grey matter. This excess iron could be what sets off a host of immune reactions -- and possibly, the symptoms of MS.
There have also been observations that ALS is related to blood problems. Blood products including iron have been found to leak out of the blood vessels into the area around the nerve cells, which could cause damage. Wouldn't it be interesting if this turned out to be the primary cause of the disease. At this point scientists see all these different things going wrong but they can't tell what is driving the whole process.