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“Liberation therapy” finally proven to be ineffective in treating multiple sclerosis

Posted March 11, 2017

“Liberation therapy” basically opens up the vein, which, as some doctors claim, should alleviate symptoms of multiple sclerosis, but really does not. Image credit: BruceBlaus via Wikimedia, CC-BY-SA-4.0

There is a condition, called multiple sclerosis, which makes body’s own defences attack the protective coating of brain cells or neurons. It is managed quite effectively using medication, but there is a controversial treatment called “liberation therapy”, which promises to improve the health of the patient after one procedure. Now scientists from the University of British Columbia are ready to debunk this myth.

The “liberation therapy” is not exactly what it sounds like. It is characterized by the use of balloon angioplasty to open stenosis in the veins. Only later people started seeing this “liberation” as a promise to completely cure multiple sclerosis, when in fact it is only “liberating” stenosis from the veins. The procedure itself has been a subject of controversy too and now scientists say that it is really not effective at all. A new research showed that people who got this almost miraculous treatment experienced no significant improvement.

Scientists performed “sham” procedures one some patients, while others got the actual “liberation therapy”. Then, after one year, scientists took a look at how the condition of these people differs. This experiment revealed that all patients, regarding their multiple sclerosis symptoms were pretty much the same. Furthermore, patients themselves reported similar health condition, so there really was no improvement after the “liberation therapy”. This goes against the claims of the pioneer of this procedure Dr. Paolo Zamboni of Italy, who said that enlarging veins prevents iron accumulation in the brain and spinal cord, which, according to him, was causing autoimmune response in multiple sclerosis. He said that many people felt much better after his treatment.

But it was always a subject of controversy, because results were actually hard to observe and research. However, many patients would be reading news about this procedure in the media and other sources and would be asking their doctors for it. Most of them would refuse to perform it, because of lack of evidence of its effectiveness. Dr. Anthony Traboulsee, one of the authors of the study, said: “We hope these findings, coming from a carefully controlled, ‘gold standard’ study, will persuade people with MS not to pursue liberation therapy, an invasive procedure that carries the risk of complications, as well as significant financial cost”.

There are drugs that are proven to be able to effectively slow down the progression of the multiple sclerosis and as for now it is the only way to go. Many people are willing to make up the results of their innovative procedures, but scientific studies can disprove them quickly. And so, “liberation therapy” is simply not worth the trouble – doctors are such selling hope.

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