Image by Kevo89 via Flickr
CTV, the Canadian television network, has produced a very significant follow-up segment (click here) to their original piece on CCSVI (click here), which aired back in November. The original piece was largely responsible for the frenzy over CCSVI that has gripped the MS population, and this new piece is a worthy successor.
This well produced 22 minute segment focuses on the battle between MS patients demanding action be taken regarding CCSVI, and the mainstream medical establishment’s resistance to taking such action. Featured in the piece are profiles of patients who have undergone the Liberation Procedure to varying degrees of benefit, and interviews with some of the vascular physicians who have started to recognize the possible importance of treating MS patients who have abnormal venous anatomy.
Dr. Mark Freedman, one of Canada's foremost MS neurologists, is on hand to offer the arguments against taking aggressive action to investigate CCSVI, and although the points he makes are theoretically sound, in the face of the mounting (albeit so far mostly anecdotal) evidence, seem hopelessly behind the curve. Although I don't think he comes off very well here, I would like to point out that Dr. Freedman has previously done some groundbreaking MS research, including using stem cells to treat MS, so his strident resistance to the idea of CCSVI is somewhat puzzling, and certainly distressing. If doctors of his caliber were to get behind research into CCSVI, the road to authoritative answers would be that much shorter.
Clearly, the vast implications that CCSVI has on the hundreds of thousands of patients suffering the quite literally crippling effects of MS demand that the scientific community take immediate notice and endeavor with much haste to either prove or disprove the theory. Given that the CCSVI hypothesis itself is fairly straightforward (although with further study I expect it will probably prove to have its complications), with proper funding it shouldn't be very difficult to launch definitive studies quickly and with scientific integrity.
This new segment also introduces us to Austrian physician Dr. Franz Schelling, who first picked up on the link between vascular abnormalities and MS in 1980, and has spent the better part of the last 30 years trying in vain to get the medical world to listen. He learned of Dr. Zamboni's initial work on CCSVI through the Internet, and initially contacted him with information gleaned from Google.
The CCSVI story, however it turns out, demonstrates both the power of the Internet, and the massive importance of well-informed patients steadfastly advocating for themselves and their fellow MSers.
Power to the people, right on...
I'd like to remind everybody watching this piece that despite the enthusiasm for CCSVI on the part of its producers that it clearly reflects, an enthusiasm shared by a growing number of patients (myself included), CCSVI still resides in the realm of theory rather than fact, so we must try to temper our fervent hopes with at least a modicum of healthy skepticism.
That said, I sure wish my Liberation Procedure had been successful in opening my blocked jugular. Oh well, if at first you don't succeed...