The Zoomer Report: Liberation Therapy Warning

Here’s the latest on an experimental vein procedure for people with multiple sclerosis. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning about the controversial treatment known as liberation therapy. The regulator is warning healthcare professionals and patients that injuries and death have been associated with this procedure.

The treatment is based on a hypothesis by Italian vascular surgeon Dr. Paolo Zamboni who thinks that narrowed neck veins create a backup of blood that can lead to lesions in the brain and inflammation.

The treatment, which involves opening blocked neck veins with balloons, is not offered in Canada, but patients have travelled around the world to get it, even though it hasn’t been approved by medical bodies. At least two Canadians died after getting the treatment overseas.

Other serious complications reported include:
• Stents migrating from a vein to another part of the body, including the heart.
• Injuries to veins.
• Blood clots in the jugular vein or the brain.

Despite the U.S. announcement, Health Canada officials say they are going ahead with ahead with a proposed clinical trial, which is in the works.

Photo © Larysa Dodz

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Libby ZnaimerAbout The Zoomer Report
Libby Znaimer, a prominent Canadian journalist specializing in business, politics, and lifestyle issues, is producer and host of The Zoomer Report, a special feature on topics of interest to baby boomers and the 50+. It covers everything from health and wealth to leisure and volunteerism, from the special vantage point of the generation that has changed society in its wake.
Ms. Znaimer is also Vice-President of News and Information for Classical 96.3FM and AM740. Her first book, “In Cancerland – Living Well Is The Best Revenge” – was published in October 2007 by Key Porter.