What Is MS?

20 Aug

Brain by Dierk Schaefer

What is MS? Turns out it may be this:

Curable.

Sound too good to be true? Well, if you love someone suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, you might be willing to take the leap of faith, as I have.

My best friend (let’s call her DeDe) was diagnosed with MS last year. I also have an aunt and uncle among the two million suffering from this debilitating and largely misunderstood disease.

When DeDe heard her prognosis, being the amazing and strong women she has always been, she immediately went proactive. She found one of the best MS doctors in the country, moved her family to Texas, and volunteered to participate in a U.S. study trying to replicate a landmark discovery in Italy.

Her reasoning: She may or may not be able to affect her fate, but she sure as hell can try. In the process, she can also help make strides for all the warriors out there (and their families and friends) fighting this crippling disease.

Yep, that’s my DeDe. (Reminds me of someone else I knew … )

So what’s this study? Well, they think MS is caused by excess iron in the brain, due to clogged veins that don’t allow iron to properly make its way out. If that’s the case, a simple operation could unblock this restricted blood flow, thus completely eliminating MS symptoms.

“Human Body and Health” by Alvin Davison, 1908.

The catalyst for this discovery was Dr. Paolo Zamboni … or rather his wife, who was diagnosed with the disease. Before his wife was diagnosed, Zamboni was researching iron buildup in the legs and how it damages blood vessels. Then, as he began his personal plight to help his wife, he uncovered many century-old resources linking MS with excess iron. The connection to his previous research was uncanny … and karmically fortuitous. Could a buildup of iron damage blood vessels in the brain, as he knew it could do in the legs?

So he studied the ultrasounds of MS patients to see. The results were startling. More than 90% had a malformation or blockage in the blood-draining veins from the brain. Including his wife.

Zamboni immediately scheduled a simple operation to unblock these veins in his wife’s brain via catheter. The result? Her MS attacks stopped. He tried the same on 65 more MS sufferers, and nearly 75% experienced the same.

The medical world remains understandably skeptical, but hope grows as more studies attempt to duplicate these promising results. DeDe is one of many brilliant points of bravery lighting this path, as is her doctor.

If you want to learn more, Zamboni called his findings Chronic Cerebro-Spinal Venous Insufficiency (CCSVI). Look it up. And if you or someone you know has MS, definitely ask your physician about it and see if there are any studies currently underway in your area.

Illustration by Claudio Montes, 1995.

And to Dede: No one could’ve blamed you if you had resorted to negativity in your situation. I’m quite sure I would’ve. But no. You said: I want to know what I can do. I want to help other people and myself. I want to take the reins of the good and the bad in my life. I want to persevere. I want to make a difference.

You are my Wonder Woman. I love you.

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5 Responses to “What Is MS?”

  1. Robin August 20, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

    Liked your article the first time I read it… Loved it the second time I read it… Cried the fifth time… Laughed at the graphics the fifteenth time… Set myself up a bookmark around the fiftieth time… And I don’t think I’ll be done reading it anytime soon. What can I say? I like your article. 😉

    • Angela Taylor Hylland August 24, 2012 at 9:03 am #

      Hey, you’re making me blush! The thing that makes me the happiest is that two people with MS have read this and hadn’t heard about the study. They’re going to ask their doctors about it! If nothing else, it brings hopes, and hope can be a powerful, healing thing.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Giving Thanks « My Castle Heart - November 21, 2012

    […] Dede: For being a superwoman, cheering me on, and making me laugh until I cry, every time. […]

  2. 2012 « My Castle Heart - January 2, 2013

    […] Most Hopeful: A Cure for MS? […]

  3. Do It Now « My Castle Heart - January 18, 2013

    […] My dearest friend triumphed over a lot in the past year: a big move, a big promotion, and a scary MS diagnosis—all while juggling the duties of mom and […]

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