The Italian researchers, led by Dr. Paolo Zamboni, imaged the veins leading from the brain and spinal cord of several hundred MS patients, and found that virtually all of them showed evidence of a narrowing or blockage of these vital vascular pathways. Specifically, they found blockages or stenosis in the jugular and/or azygos veins of the MS patients they studied, findings not seen in healthy control subjects or in patients with other vascular or neurolgic conditions.
These researchers theorize that these blockages constrict the flow of blood leaving the central nervous system, causing a reflux of blood back into the brain and/or spine. This reflux leads to edema and inflammation, which in turn leads to an immune response, which then leads to the lesions that are the hallmark of Multiple Sclerosis.
Dr. Dake and his colleagues have themselves begun imaging the vascular systems of MS patients, and have found results similar to those of the Italian researchers. The Stanford group has gone so far as to start surgically clearing the blocked veins of MS patients, by placing stents at the sites of the blockages.
The researchers in Italy have also been clearing the blockages that they've found, and plan on holding a news conference announcing their findings and results sometime early this summer.
Needless to say, this theory, and the data behind it, flies in the face of accepted scientific thought about Multiple Sclerosis. I'm not entirely convinced that this hypothesis explains all the complexities and wide range of disease presentations seen in MS patients, but the evidence certainly seems compelling enough to warrant further serious investigation.
Personally, I've never quite bought into the "autoimmune" theory of the disease, and I would welcome the paradigm shift that these new ideas might bring about. It's time for mainstream researchers to start looking beyond accepted MS dogma, which thus far has brought us treatments that are only partially effective, and often highly toxic. Surely, there must be a better approach to treating MS than suppressing the intricately complex human immune system.
Animaluver I don't see anything about this in any of the MS research magazines I receive. Please keep us informed with any further updates you find, okay? I find it a very interesting alternative theory. If testing of that nature was going on here in Michigan, I'd be there with bells on! Having PPMS, it gets tiring to always be shoved aside for RRMS...big sigh. So, we don't have the inflamation, but we have the same symptoms from the spinal cord lesions. I called in to a teleconference and got through, I asked that panel of 6 neurologists what, if anything is going on in research for PPMS, like maybe adult stem cells. There was quite a long silence and one of them said that she feels sorry for us because the research is predominantly for RRMS. I wanted to say....duh...I didn't though. Then a different one stated that there is some research going on but it is not in the forefront. Oh well, I tried.