Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency (CCSVI) and MS

Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency (CCSVI) describes a disruption of blood-flow in which the venous system is unable to efficiently remove blood from the central nervous system resulting in increased pressure in the veins of the brain and spinal cord which in turn results in damage to these areas reviving the idea of an association between inadequate venous drainage and multiple sclerosis.

This disrupted blood-flow was first noticed around 1980 by an Austrian family doctor trained in radiology and neurology. For 30 years, Dr. Franz Schelling, collected data pointing to damage in the brains of MS patients. He also analyzed X-rays of MS patients and found anomalies in the neck and skulls of patients compared to healthy people. Schelling's requests for further study were repeatedly rejected by MS specialists who insisted what was an autoimmune condition, not a venous problem. Dr Schelling, now retired laid-aside his research until one day in 2008 he heard that Dr Dr.Paolo Zamboni had reached the same conclusion. Schelling 'Googled' Zamboni urging him to publish.

Media attention was drawn to this research-paper comparing 65 people with different types of MS with 235 people who were either healthy or who had other neurological disorders. A relationship was established between venous insufficiency and MS Ė suggesting that poor blood drainage by constricted veins contributed to damaged nerve-tissue. The study, by Dr.Paolo Zamboni MD, R Galeotti, E Menegatti, (University of Ferrara, Italy) and colleagues, was published in 2009. (J Neurology Neurosurgery Psychiatry. 2009 Apr; 80 (4): 392-9. Epub. 2008 Dec 5.) Read the abstract here.

Quote from Canadian CTV News Wed. Apr. 14 2010:

"An Italian doctor who contends multiple sclerosis may be caused by blocked veins in the neck defended his research from critics....cautioning that further studies are necessary to prove that the treatment he developed is both safe and effective.

Vascular surgeon Dr. Paolo Zamboni believes that narrowed veins in the neck lead to poor blood drainage from the brain, resulting in a build-up of iron deposits that can damage brain cells. Zamboni's research on a small number of patients in Italy has found that MS patients are more likely to suffer from this condition, which he calls chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency, or CCSVI. Zamboni has dubbed his treatment for CCSVI (balloon angioplasty) the "liberation treatment."

"...a build-up of iron deposits that can damage brain cells."

Poor blood-flow, in which the venous system is unable to efficiently remove blood from the central nervous system quickly results in increased pressure in the veins of the brain and spinal cord. This in turn results in transfer of iron deposits into adjacent myelin cells. Iron in the brain is known to be deadly poisonous and the cause of many other conditions.

Myelin, damaged by iron deposits, is swiftly attacked by the body's own autoimmune defense system. The resulting scar-tissue (plaques) now unable to conduct nerve impulses. Hence the MS, simple?

Well not quite!

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in August 2007 found a genetic risk factor for MS. The study shows that people who have certain variations or mutations of two different genes (IL7RA and IL2RA) are more likely to have MS than people without these mutations.

IZ7RA and IL2RA are proteins that guide the actions of one type of T-lymphocyte autoimmune cells. As genes control how proteins are made in the body, changes in protein type represent a difference in genetics. Problem is, not everyone with these two genes has MS.

A Canadian efriend of mine with a Scottish grandfather is typical. She has three cousins; two of the grandchildren have MS (including my efriend), two don't. Why are two identical genes so different? Could it be caused by a 'spelling mistake' in the mytochondrial DNA?

Mytochondria - the cell's 'Power house'

Mytochondrial DNA modifies cells, empowering protein receptors. There are over 4000 hereditary conditions, here are a few of the more well-known diseases:

  • BehÁet's disease
  • Cerebral autosomal dominant arteriopathy with subcortical infarcts and leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL)
  • Coeliac disease
  • Crohn's Disease
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Meniereís disease
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Huntington's Chorea
  • Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCoM)
  • Wilson's Syndrome

These hereditary conditions, caused by mytochondrial gene-modification are currently being erradicated by adding mytochondria from a third, healthy, donor using invitrio fertilization.

Embryos containing DNA from a man and two women have been created by scientists at Newcastle University. They say their research, published in the journal Nature, has the potential to help mothers with rare genetic disorders have healthy children. The aim is to prevent damaged DNA in mitochondria - the "batteries" which power the cell - from being passed on by the mother. IVF clinics are not currently permitted to carry out the procedure.

The double-stranded DNA molecule lies at the heart of nearly all our cells Chemical components called bases - adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine(C) and guanine (G) - spell out a profile unique to the individual.

The Viking Hypothesis

The theory of CCSVI in no way conflicts with The Viking Hypothesis, if anything it supports it. The word "Viking" reappeared in the English language during the 18th century), used to describe the Norsemen who originated in Norway, Denmark and Sweden and raided Scotland and the British Isles. "Viking" may also be used to denote the entire populations of these countries and their settlements in other countries where Vikings were called Normans (Northmen), Varangians or Varyags (Russian and the Ukraine), Rus' (Kievan Russia), Lombards (Danube basin, Italy).

These areas include many places where the incidence of MS is much higher than average including Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Faeroe the Orkney islands, the Shetland Islands, Scotland and northern Ireland. Later distribution of Viking genes to other regions such as the USA, Canada, and Australia - can be attributed in a large part to Scottish emigrants moving into these areas during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Following 28 years writing my webpage I now firmly believe:
  1. MS is an autosomal recessive genetic disorder prevalent in Nordic races.
  2. In 50% of cases where these genes occur, they are modified causing constricted veins and red blood-cell platelet agglomoration.
  3. This 'pooling' of blood in the brain causes iron carried by haemoglobin to contaminate myelin cells,
  4. The autoimmune-system macrophages remove dead myelin cells which are replaced by scar-tissue or 'plaques' causing MS.

Furthermore, I believe all patients diagnosed with MS should be subject to a venous scan and a DNA test as matter of procedure (as were my children checked when I was diagnosed with HCOM).

I happen to be very sympathetic to the idea that vascular insufficiency plays a role in MS, and this possibility has driven some of our research for the last few years. Your history of cardiac problems dovetails into it well, as you have guessed. Thank you for telling me about it.

Prof. Kenneth J. Smith, Ph.D.,
Head, Department of Neuroinflammation,
The Institute of Neurology (Queen Square),
University College London.

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Last edited June 2010. ©Terence Wilson MMIX