MS patients not giving up on controversial procedure
Newfoundland and Labrador study found Zamboni procedure has no benefit
People living with multiple sclerosis in Newfoundland and Labrador are disappointed with the results of their province's research into a controversial treatment for the debilitating disease.
Thursday, the province announced its observational study found the Zamboni procedure produced 'no measurable improvements' for patients.
Some people with MS hope larger clinical trials will come to a different conclusion.
"Hopefully, the clinical trials that the federal government has announced will tell us in the longer term for once and for all whether this is a partial treatment or something that could be combined with others," said former MS Society leader Ted Warren, who lives with MS but hasn't had the Zamboni treatment.
The province launched the study nearly two years ago, after people from this province travelled abroad to undergo the experimental procedure. The province spent about $400,000 on the research.
The Zamboni procedure, developed by Italian vascular surgeon Paolo Zamboni, is based on a theory that MS is linked to blocked veins in the neck, and that opening them up helps relieve symptoms of the debilitating disease.
For a year, researchers in Newfoundland followed 30 people who have had the procedure and 10 others, the control group, who have not had the procedure.
Although the Newfoundland research was disappointing, Warren said he hopes the federally-funded clinical trials will lead researchers to find further treatments for people living with multiple sclerosis.
At least one Burin Peninsula man with MS who had the procedure remains convinced that it works despite the findings of the Newfoundland study.
Perry Goodyear claims he's living proof.
"The result is excellent. Before I went, I could not talk on the phone or eat anything and the day I got back from New York, I sat down and ate a hot turkey meal," he said.
Goodyear still can't walk, and has since lost the use of his right arm, which he says is due to a new blockage.
"There's like thousands of people who are even walking again. [People] who never walked before and for the government to say there's no benefits to this is wrong," he said.
On Thursday, Health Minister Susan Sullivan said the province has not been given a good reason to begin paying for the procedure.