MS study a good move

Those with multiple sclerosis in our province had reason to feel a bit more positive with recent news the government is lending support to an ‘observational’ study on an unconventional treatment.

Last month, the province announced $1 million would be made available for a closer examination on the ‘Zamboni Treatment’ for people MS.

There’s no question it’s the right step to take. And really, it’s just a start.

According to the MS Society of Canada, Canadians have one of the highest rates of MS in the world and it’s the most common neurological disease affecting young adults in this country.

Every day, three more people in Canada are diagnosed. Women are also more than three times as likely to develop MS as men.

Also, MS can affect vision, hearing, memory, balance and mobility. There is no cure.

Meanwhile, Paolo Zamboni, a Italian vascular surgeon, believes MS is not an autoimmune condition but a vascular disease he calls ‘chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency’ that can be corrected by surgery. Zamboni’s theory is that MS is caused by clogged veins.

He first performed surgery on his wife a few years back and her symptoms disappeared. He later tested it on 65 patients, and 73% of them had no symptoms two years after surgery.

Once the news of the procedure started to spread it caused an international sensation that was certainly felt across Canada and here in Central Alberta as well. Naturally those dealing with MS, and its troubling unpredictability, urgently want help – even if it comes in the form of an unexpected theory as to the cause of the condition.

And while $1 million obviously isn’t much, it at least shows the province is taking the concerns and questions of those with MS seriously.

Officials could have chosen to brush off spending anything on studying the procedure. But the province has pledged to spend more money on clinical trials “if and when it is safe and ethical to proceed.”

The three-year study will begin next spring.

Whatever the case, many people with MS aren’t waiting around for the final verdict on the procedure anyways. To date, it’s not approved in Canada so folks have been jetting off to a number of international destinations for the procedure and the results have varied. Some report feeling much better while others are disappointed.

Let’s hope that in the months ahead, new light can be shed not only on the feasibility and scope of this treatment, but on MS itself.

It’s a start on what could prove to be even more of a medical breakthrough, and those struggling with such a debilitating condition certainly deserve the support and the promise that this study could bring about.

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