Doctors talk about controversial treatment for MS
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Both supporters and skeptics of an alternative treatment for the disease multiple sclerosis are gathering in the Bay Area. Research into the technique is drawing attention from around the world.
Carol Schumacher says she is finally able to walk without a cane and she believes her improvement is the result of a controversial treatment for multiple sclerosis. A year and a half ago she showed us images taken just before doctors performed angioplasty, and placed a stent in her jugular vein to increase blood flow to her brain.
"Before I had to have the cane and I wouldn't dare walk a block without it," said Schumacher.
The procedure is based on a theory called CCSVI, or chronic cerebrospinal venus insufficiency. Its backers believe the symptoms of MS are influenced by blockages in blood flow to the brain. One of its early proponents was Stanford surgeon Michael Dake, M.D., who spoke at a convention of interventional radiologists in San Francisco Monday.
"Many people now have come over to understand there is some association, it's undeniable, with MS and obstructions in the veins, draining the brain," said Dake.
In the last two years, interest in the procedure has become so intense, that clinics have sprung up across the country and overseas offering CCSVI treatment. But its effectiveness is still hotly debated, along with the theory of CCSVI itself. Several studies funded in part by the MS Society are currently underway, but supporters like Dake say large scale clinical trials are now needed to document whether the surgical procedure is having a measurable effect on patients.
"The ideal study that we all want is a randomized sham controlled trial, that at least in the short run can remove the placebo issue from the table," said Dake.
Dake says he now has funding for a CCSVI trial, which he hopes to begin later this year. Schumacher says MS patients around the world will be watching.
"We are just so anxious because we know that we're only going to be able to tell if this is effective and safe and helps people with MS, and other neurological diseases, if we do the clinical trials," said Schumacher.
Dake will be moderating a symposium on CCSVI Tuesday night, in San Francisco. It is open to the public.
health, carolyn johnson
- Crews demolishing building in Mission Bay fire
- Parents discuss Oakland school assaults with police
- Man looks to move forward after Peninsula boat crash
- Senators reach deal extending jobless benefits
- SF's Stockton Tunnel closed due to water main break 49 min ago
- Crews remove broken window from high-rise in SF
- Car cleared from Caltrain tracks after collision
- Police search for possible shooter, lock down school
- Royal editor: Diana gave me leaked phone info
- Rare tree halts plans for Smart Train in Cotati 43 min ago
- VIRAL VIDEO: Haiyan survivors in "Happy"...
- Photos: Meet the stars where you live
- roundup: Vacaville police chief; South Bay fireworks
- weather: Bay Area weather forecast for Friday
- SF's Stockton Tunnel closed due to water...
49 min ago
- Rare tree halts plans for Smart Train in...
43 min ago