Medical journal de-bunks controversial MS therapy

A new study published this week in The Lancet has disproved the theory that Multiple Sclerosis could be caused by blocked neck veins.
Mark Lane has been living with MS for years and has travelled to Poland for treatment. (CBC)

A new study published this week in a prominent medical journal has disproved the theory that Multiple Sclerosis could be caused by blocked neck veins.

For many in the local MS community, the study, released in The Lancet, sounded the death knell on the so-called Zamboni treatment.    

Mark Lane has lived with MS for five years, and has travelled to Poland for the controversial therapy.

Since having the treatment, Lane said he's feeling better. He is concerned however about the message this latest study on Zamboni's treatment could send.  

"They pride themselves as having the definitive conclusion ... and I think as one person living with MS, I think that's very irresponsible if not moronic on behalf of these two doctors," said Lane.

Dr. Anthony Traboulsee was one of the study's authors.

"We now know that these blockages which are very common, the narrowing in veins, are very common in the general population, can't be the cause of multiple sclerosis," said Traboulsee. 

Newfoundland and Labrador was one of the first provinces in Canada to fund an observational study.

Dr. Pryse-Phillips says his patients didn't experience an improvement. (CBC)

Three years ago, the study looked at 30 patients who had the procedure performed elsewhere.

In 2012, Dr. William Pryse-Phillips, the neurologist who led the study, said pretty much the same thing as this week's Lancet finding. 

"I didn't see in our 30 subjects any significant improvement."

That's where and when the province's funding stopped. 

"My last MRI that I had done was better than my previous MRI's ... so quantitatively, I've shown signs of improvement. Is that related to the procedure? I don't know," said Lane. 

But Lane said he would do it all over again.

"To say this is the definitive conclusion, that this is the be-all-end-all, is irresponsibly killing hope." 

Lane added he's waiting for the results of a national trial, which will be released in 2015.


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