BUFFALO, NY Neurologists at the University at Buffalo are beginning a research study that could overturn the prevailing wisdom on the cause of multiple sclerosis (MS).
The researchers will test the possibility that the symptoms of MS result from narrowing of the primary veins outside the skull, a condition called "chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency," or CCSVI.
CCSVI is a complex vascular condition discovered and described by Paolo Zamboni, M.D., from Italy's University of Ferrara. In the original Italian patients, CCSVI was found to be strongly associated with MS, increasing the risk of developing MS by 43 fold.
This narrowing restricts the normal outflow of blood from the brain, causing alterations in the blood flow patterns within the brain that eventually causes injury to brain tissue and degeneration of neurons.
"If we can prove our hypothesis, that cerebrospinal venous insufficiency is the underlying cause of MS," said Robert Zivadinov, M.D., Ph.D., UB associate professor of neurology, director of the Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center (BNAC) and principal investigator on the study, "it is going to change the face of how we understand MS."
Michael Cain, M.D., professor and dean of the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, said a positive outcome from this trial would have enormous implications for the treatment of MS. "Being able to identify those at risk of developing MS before symptoms take their toll could change the lives of millions of persons who now face inevitable lifestyle restrictions."
Margaret Paroski, M.D., executive vice president and chief medical officer of Kaleida Health, parent of Buffalo General Hospital where the BNAC is located, commented: "Will Rogers once said, 'It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we do know that ain't so'. Challenging basic assumptions about diseases has lead to some very important discoveries.
"When I was in medical school, we t
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University at Buffalo