Saturday, March 17, 2012

CCSVI and MS

On the heels of MS Awareness Week, I feel it's necessary to revisit a topic that always brings a heated debated:  CCSVI and MS.  For those few who aren't aware of this, I will refer you back to my post on January 11, 2011.  It explains what CCSVI is in detail.

Today, I saw yet another post on Facebook claiming that CCSVI saved them from their MS symptoms.  This debate has been going on a couple years now, and while it has died down considerably, there are still those out there either clinging to a last hope or trying to make a buck where CCSVI is concerned.  There are hundreds of studies and articles out there on this topic, I'm just going to a cite a few here:

Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency and Multiple Sclerosis
Are Narrow Blood Vessels to Blame in MS?
Fissures in Zamboni's MS Theory Widen
Notice on CCSVI from Alberta Health Services

No one, not a single scientist or doctor, has been able to duplicate Zamboni's original 2009 findings.  What does this mean?  It means his claims of CCSVI in MS can't be substantiated.  Sadly, now that enough time has passed if you look around the message boards you can find case after case of MS patients paying tens of thousands to medical tourism for a "treatment", only to end up worse off than they were before.  You can also find cases of patients who went abroad for CCSVI and have lost their life because of it.

And yet despite this, the CCSVI prophets are still quick to yell and scream the benefits of it.  Why is this?  A couple reasons:  A large number of them are being paid to recruit MS patients.  Medical tourism is multi-million dollar industry and there is much money to be made off desperation and ignorance.  Speaking of desperation, a lot of that runs rampant with MS patients as well.  It's an incurable disease and so many out there are holding onto any shred of hope they can find- even if it's false hope.  Then, there is the biggest reason the CCSVI storm has taken hold- social media.  Social media like Facebook, Twitter, and blogs are incredibly powerful.  Look at the uprising of Egypt that led to overthrowing the government, that was orchestrated almost entirely by social media.  That's why the Egyptian government kept trying to shut down internet in the country.  The CCSVI people know this and use it to their full advantage.  They even give tips and instructions to others selling CCSVI propaganda on how to utilize social media in their favor- and that is exactly how they've gotten and maintained their strong hold within the MS community.  They may not have facts in their favor to support their argument, but they sure do have a lot of homemade YouTube videos and "testimonials" from people claiming to have been cured.

For those that are STILL insisting CCSVI helps, let me paint a picture for you.  Just for fun, let's say CCSVI does in fact exist (despite the fact as of now, they can't even prove that much).  If it does exist, then it is it's own health issue totally independent of MS.  Now, if you do have health issues separate from MS, even though they're totally unrelated biologically they still can effect each other.  Here's an example from my own life:  I quit smoking 10 months ago and have lost almost 60 pounds in the last couple months.  Since these changes that effectively corrected other health issues unrelated to MS, I feel better than I have in years.  I can walk further and faster, my balance is better, I have far less leg pain and spasms, and I don't have nearly as much fatigue as I once did.  My symptoms have been reduced greatly by losing weight.  So, by CCSVI standards, that would mean losing weight is a treatment for MS.  I mean, I feel great since losing all that weight!  Heck, I could even make a YouTube video showing how fabulous I am doing these days as proof!  Losing weight should be an official, government funded and recognized, treatment for MS and I am the proof.

((wipes the sarcasm from her chin))

Weight loss isn't a treatment for MS anymore than CCSVI is, and my blog stating how great I feel isn't anymore proof than a homemade YouTube video.  Propaganda and personal claims will never replace the need and validity of actual scientific fact.  Educate yourself to the facts.  While hope is a great thing- God knows I have tons- it should never replace common sense and rationale thinking.

Be well all :)
Mis