Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency CCSVI for short is suspected as playing a part in multiple sclerosis. To study this idea in full Canada and the US have funded 7 separate studies to try and understand it’s involvement in MS.
Preliminary results from a study being done at the University of Buffalo showed that 55% of MS patients have a narrowing of the veins. Dr. Robert Zivadinov, the principal investigator of the study says he’s cautiously optimistic and excited about these results.
Compared to test subjects without MS it shows that there is almost three times higher prevalence of narrowed veins in people with MS. The research also showed that fewer cases of CCSVI were found in patients that had only one MS attack compared to MS patients that have more advanced symptoms of the disease. The ratio is 38% and 80% respectively.
From this research it’s possible to assume that CCSVI is not the cause of MS but it may be another symptom of the disease. For more answers we need to look closely at the study being run in Toronto.
MS at an early age
The study going on at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children is studying CCSVI in children. Dr. Brenda Banwell, a noted expert in pediatric MS will be determining whether the veins are abnormal in pediatric MS.
This is a very important part of the whole study going on in Canada and the US because it looks at the disease process at a very early stage. Advanced age and other health conditions that might affect blood flow do not exist in pediatric MS.
By studying MS at an early age they are more able to investigate how blood flow problems could lead to myelin damage through the accumulation of excess iron. Dr. Brenda Banwell and her team will be viewing vein anatomy as well as novel measures of venous flow of children with MS in order to compare them with children that are MS free.
A problem with iron deposits in the brain causing lesions has been suspected since the late 1800’s, however a suspect for the cause has not been realized until recent events. The study being done in Toronto is hoping to understand the cause of CCSVI. It is hoped that with a better understanding of the processes taking place in the early stages of MS an answer may be found.
MS causes the immune system to attack, but what the initial target is as of yet is not known. Once the immune system is activated it will over time attack injured tissue in the brain and spinal cord. That is why the Toronto study is of such importance. In studying MS in the beginning stages a better understanding of the disease will be found.
The results of this study are due June 30, 2012 a long time for people with Multiple Sclerosis to wait. It is hoped that these intensive studies will shed new light and give greater hope in the fight against MS.
For those of us with Multiple Sclerosis and their loved ones, two years is a very long time to wait. Let us all hope it will be worth it.
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