UPDATE: Study says MS 'liberation therapy' not effective
A long-awaited Canadian patient trial of a controversial treatment for multiple sclerosis known as ``liberation therapy'' has concluded the procedure is not effective.
Liberation therapy involves opening up narrowed veins in the neck, a procedure several thousand Canadians with MS have undergone in clinics outside Canada at a cost of thousands of dollars each.
The experimental therapy is not approved in Canada.
The vein-dilating procedure was first put forward in 2009 by Dr. Paulo Zamboni, who asserted that narrowed veins in the neck could cause iron deposits to create lesions in the brain.
The Italian vascular surgeon dubbed the condition chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency, or CCSVI, and cited several dozen cases of patients who improved after he performed the therapy.
But Dr. Anthony Traboulsee of the University of British Columbia says a clinical trial of 104 Canadians with MS found no difference between patients who received the vein-widening therapy and those who got a sham procedure.
Traboulsee hopes the findings will persuade people with the debilitating auto-immune disease to not pursue liberation therapy, which he says carries potential risks and has led to a number of deaths.
Diana Gordon of Barrie was one of the first thousand Canadians to head to a different country, seeking the treatment and claims it worked for her.
"I couldn't even measure the amount that it did work for me....like I had my life back." Gordon told NEWSTALK1010.
She says she gets frustrated when she hears of a study that claims the treatment is junk science.
"They didn't ask me. They didn't talk to the people it worked for."
Gordon admits, some of the symptoms have returned and she's trying to raise money for a second treatment, through a GoFundMe online fundraiser.
But she would like to see a day, that she wouldn't have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to seek the care that makes her life better.
At this point though, that doesn't look like it will happen anytime soon.