Liberation Therapy

Paolo Zamboni University of Ferrara, Italy

Liberator? Paolo Zamboni (Image via Wikipedia)

Note: filistro is on vacation. This article was previously written.

“Liberation Therapy” sounds like counseling classes for the newly divorced, but in reality it is one of the most stunning (and controversial) breakthroughs in modern medicine, with the potential to impact the lives of millions suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS), a particularly cruel ailment.

Dr. Paolo Zamboni, a former vascular surgeon and professor at the University of Ferrara in northern Italy, began asking questions about the debilitating condition a decade ago, when his wife Elena, now 51, was diagnosed with MS.

Watching his wife Elena struggle with the fatigue, muscle weakness and visual problems of MS led Zamboni to begin an intense personal search for the cause of her disease. He found that scientists who had studied the brains of MS patients had noticed higher levels of iron in their brain, not accounted for by age. The iron deposits had a unique pattern, often forming in the core of the brain, clustered around the veins that normally drain blood from the head. No one had ever fully explained this phenomenon, considering the excess iron a toxic byproduct of the MS itself.

Dr. Zamboni wondered if the iron came from blood improperly collecting in the brain. Using Doppler ultrasound, he began examining the necks of MS patients and made an extraordinary finding. Almost 100 per cent of the patients had a narrowing, twisting or outright blockage of the veins that are supposed to flush blood from the brain. He then checked these veins in healthy people, and found none of these malformations. Nor did he find these blockages in those with other neurological conditions.

What was equally astounding, was that not only was the blood not flowing out of the brain, it was “refluxing” reversing and flowing back upwards. Zamboni believes that as the blood moves into the brain, pressure builds in the veins, forcing blood into the brain’s grey matter where it sets off a host of reactions, possibly explaining the symptoms of MS.

Dr. Zamboni enlisted the help of vascular surgeon Dr. R. Galeotti, also at the University of Ferrara and Santa Anna Hospital. Together they developed a technique to clear the neck veins of MS sufferers that is sort of a combination of angioplasty and roto-rooter. Three years ago, the team began a study in which they treated 65 MS patients to see if endovascular surgery would restore flow in these vessels and lessen MS symptoms.

But preliminary results, already released, show patients had a decrease in the number of new MS attacks, a big reduction in the number of brain lesions that define MS, and improved quality of life. The only time symptoms returned for the patients was when the veins re-narrowed. Because the surgery freed the blood flow, the team dubbed the procedure “The Liberation Treatment.”

News of liberation therapy has been widely publicized in Canada. As a result, Canadians suffering from the ravages of MS have been wildly excited about this procedure, and many have travelled to Europe to have the surgery performed. Newspapers and Canadian television documentary shows are filled with anecdotal reports of astonishing, almost miraculous results. Three provinces…Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Alberta…are now funding studies of the procedure, and the Canadian government has committed to providing and funding liberation therapy for its citizens if these studies prove it is safe and effective.

So Canada…home of the dreaded “rationed health care,” will be covering the cost of this new treatment as soon as it can be proven safe. I wonder if those oh-so-compassionate health insurers in the United States will be getting on board as quickly for their clients who are suffering from one of nature’s most brutal and heartbreaking diseases.

About filistro

Filistro is a Canadian writer and prairie dog who maintains burrows on both sides of the 49th parallel. Like all prairie dogs, she is keenly interested in politics and language. (Prairie dogs have been known to build organized towns the size of Maryland, and are the only furry mammal with a documented language.)
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15 Responses to Liberation Therapy

  1. shortchain says:

    I have more than a passing understanding of MS, and what bothers me about this is twofold:

    a) It flies in the face of the evolved understanding of the causes of MS, which are that it is an autoimmune disorder. Treating an iron buildup due to inadequate blood flow just seems so peripheral to the underlying cause that it seems unlikely to have long-term efficacy.

    b) Since it appears that the treatment is only effective at all for the type of MS which is characterized by exacerbations which occur at rare intervals and then are interspersed with long periods of remission, the treatment is going to be difficult, if not impossible to evaluate. With standard chemical therapies, it is possible to test their effectiveness by comparison with a placebo or other reference chemical. With the kind of treatment here, there is no way to do that.

    I would hesitate before recommending such a treatment, especially given the hazards.

  2. Kellye Cooper says:

    I have MS and actually had this treatment done last Aug. It instantly cleared up many of my symptoms that had kept me fully dependent on a caregiver. I no longer need her service. I was put on two different toxic meds for MS one of them rotted all of my teeth and the other one almost killed me and is killing people with MS now.
    As for shortchains comments I just wonder what the background is and how much you actually know about MS and this treatment.
    A) The vascular connection to MS has been traced back to the 1800’s and the actual history of MS has this shown. The autoimmune theory is just that a theory. It popped up the same time the drugs started getting pushed on the country
    B) This treatment has now been done on over 10,000 people with all forms of MS. Actually it has gotten people out of nursing homes and back home. look up Barb Farrell and be amazed.
    This is not a cure at all but needs to be looked into further quickly. Big Pharma owns the NMSS and the doctors.

  3. Bev Bentley says:

    shortchain, with all due respect, I believe if you could take a few moments to read the postings by Dr. Bill Code and Dr. Ashton Embry and Joan Beale and Dr. Sandy McDonald, and Dr.’s Hewett and Arata and Sinan and Zivadinov and Sclafani and so many others, I think you might be pleasantly surprised about the research done to date and you would likely understand how there are so few “hazards” and just how beneficial the treatment for a venous disease can be. Those of us who also have MS need to be treated for the CCSVI that we have as a separate entity. My son is living proof that 8 months post treatment he is still doing better, even though he still has MS. Kellye, I’m so happy for you too!! Quality of life is so important.

  4. connie says:

    As an MS patient for 12 years, I have done a lot of research into the disease. The vascular connection was identified very early on, shortly after the disease was first named. The vascular connection has been commented on by many who have studied the disease and done research. (Dr. Roy Swank, developer of the Swank Diet for MS pinpointed the vascular connection in the 70s……read his book, if you don’t believe me)

    The autoimmune theory is JUST a theory. More likely, MS, in all its forms and permutations, is probably a result of MANY influences, vascular malfunction being just one of them.

    Who’s to say that the initial vascular stenosis is not initially responsible for an autoimmune response ?

    I am having my procedure in March. I have had the MRV and I have severe stenosis in several areas………….jugulars and azygous.

    If patients are comfortable existing with this nasty disease, that is certainly their choice. I prefer to do everything I can to regain some sort of quality of life. Any amount of symptom relief will be a good thing, in my book.

    I realize there are those who think their neurologists are god, those who believe that putting toxins into your body (prescription drugs) is a good thing, and those who possibly even enjoy being sick.

    I am NOT one of those.

  5. Mr. Universe says:

    Wow, I did not know much about this topic until now. Best of luck to all of you who are fighting this.

  6. shortchain says:

    The skeptic in my has to point out that there is no possibility of double-blind tests on the effectiveness of this therapy.

    I wish everyone the best.

  7. connie says:

    By the way, the vascular doc who will be doing my procedure has performed venoplasty on hundreds of MS patients. He has found that, so far, 100% of them have stenosis. He may eventually find some patients who are not stenosed, but has not yet.

    He performs a venogram, which is the diagnostic gold standard for determining CCSVI (the other tests are Dopppler Ultrasound and an MRV)

  8. Reg Kreil says:

    I have lived with MS for about 25 years and I do not like the fact that I am now a tripalegic even after having the liberation treatment in Mexico last July.
    The problem is I believe that while I was relapsing remitting there was no treatment and I took no drugs as I saw my friends were getting no benefit from any drug, as specially since two of them have their hip bones deteriorated from seven years of this plus their skin at the injection sites does not look well either.
    Now I hear kidney failure is another side effect of these injectable drugs, so far there has been no side effect to my angioplasty/veinoplasty done in both of my jugular veins.

    I don’t believe I am progressing anymore to disability. However, with the amount of damage done to my gray matter, as seen in the MRI done in Mexico, I don’t expect to get better, but as long as I don’t get worse. I will be happy.

    Just the improvement in quality of life is worth the $10,000 that I had to spend in Mexico, as my blood pressure is still very normal.120/82 Ever since procedure, prior to that it was excessively high. I believe that just for that reason alone this should be allowed to be given to us people with MS, the doctors try everything they can to bring my blood pressure down, but nothing worked at all until I got my jugular veins opened! And this is recorded on my chart!
    I believe we will find many good things coming from opening up jugular veins or azygous vein in us, and yes there will not be a proper way to test the double-blind theory of proving a treatment, but how many testimonials/anecdotal evidence, do we have to have before anyone will believe us? We are as the man said up to 10,000 strong now, only a couple of deaths during this whole time, I dare you checked the numbers for tysabri! E

  9. Kellye Cooper says:

    Shortchain you just showed your cards as you must be a doctor to mention the double blind trials. That is what is needed for the poisons they give but not for a simple angioplasty that has been done for years for other issues so why not MS? The only reason this is being hushed is it cannot make millions of dollars for neuros’ big pharma, and the MS societies. Trust me these people do NOT want a cure for MS as they would be put out of business. MS drugs cost on avg 4,000 a month angioplasty is a one time shot for less than 10,000

  10. connie says:

    Reg, you are so right.

    It appears as if many of us with more severe disability see less drastic improvements. However, physical therapy AFTER venoplasty is helping many.
    And if you DO re-stenose, treatment is available in the US in many places and the cost is much less in most.

    The medical and pharmaceutical community have NO right to prevent patients from seeking and obtaining this procedure. OUR bodies, OUR choice!

    If the neuros and big pharma types and the NMSS big shots had to spend even one day with this disease, they would be sinsging a different tune!

  11. Is it the medical community that is denying this treatment, or is it the insurance industry? I ask because I don’t know.

  12. Dale says:

    American Health Ins. has already paid for some Americans to have the procedure in the U.S. What is taking the Canadians so long? Hasn’t there been enough proof already?

  13. connie says:

    Canadian national health must be pretty well co-opted by Pharma.

  14. Adam Dicker says:

    Great article, I have found the best resource on the liberation treatment to be at , I hope this helps you as well.

  15. Eloy Fusco says:

    MS treatment is still not 100% successful. But with the advent of modern stem cells, i think in the near future we would be able to cure it permanently.’:,*’

    With appreciation

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