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The Controversial ‘Liberation Therapy’: Is It Good For Multiple Sclerosis?

By Sai , Mar 10, 2017 01:58 AM EST
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Multiple Sclerosis: Genetic mutation identified as cause of rapidly progressive MS

A team of Canadian researchers has recently debunked a surgical treatment that has been pioneered in Europe, which was previously sought out by thousands of desperate people with multiple sclerosis. Since its emergence in 2009, thousands of people with MS have undergone the so-called "liberation therapy, hoping that it could possibly put an end to Multiple Sclerosis with just a one-time medical procedure. Devised by an Italian surgeon Dr. Paolo Zamboni, the "Liberation therapy" has then been used in order to widen narrowed veins from the brain and spinal cord, suggesting that the neurological disease could be triggered by a build-up of iron where the blood did not flow freely.

Debunking The 'Liberation Therapy'

In one of his statements reported by Science Daily, Dr. Anthony Traboulsee, a UBC Associate Professor of Neurology and Director of the MS Clinic at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health says that considering the fact that the findings were obtained from a carefully controlled, gold standard study, it will now hopefully convince people with MS not to pursue liberation therapy, which is found to be an invasive procedure that carries the risk of complications, as well as significant financial cost. On a lighter note, however, the UBC Associate Professor said that there is a range of drug treatments for MS that have been proven, through rigorous studies, to be safe and effective at slowing the disease progression. In conducting the study, the research team allegedly performed the vein-widening venoplasty procedure on 49 people, wherein a catheter is being inserted, thus inflating their veins with a small balloon and a "sham" operation on 55 others, who just had the catheter insertion where it has turned out that after a year, it was found that no difference has been created between the disease progression of the two groups.

However, according to The Guardian, despite the released findings backed by previous studies in 2013, Traboulsee said that people are still seeking liberation therapy. Furthermore, a significant number of European and Canadian patients who has learned of those anecdotal results through the news media, have reportedly asked for imaging of their veins and subsequent venoplasty. In addition, almost all Canadian physicians, who have cited the lack of supporting evidence, would not perform it, while also prompting some patients to seek the treatment in the U.S., Latin America, and Eastern Europe, if they insist on doing so.

Study's Proposition

Meanwhile, Traboulsee's team has presented their findings last Wednesday at the Society for Interventional Radiology's annual meeting in Washington. As per the research team, their next steps are to publish their findings. Ultimately, Timothy Caulfield, the Canada research chair in health law and policy at the University of Alberta and an expert in quack medicine hopes that this will be the end of it considering that Canada has been considered as one of the countries with most affected populations of MS in the world.

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