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Archive for the ‘multiple sclerosis’ Category

Horrifying Habit Heroes

Posted by Colin Rose on February 26, 2012

Has anyone ever objected to exposing kids to the evil doings of villains like The Joker, Lex LuthorCatwomen and Darth Vader who kill and maim thousands and demolish whole cities or planets? Very few. But just suggest that the lifestyle habits of kids could be improved by creating examples of a healthy lifestyle, like the Habit Heroes of Disney World, and their evil enemies, like Lead Bottom or The Glutton, and the self appointed protectors of the delicate juvenile mind, cultural relativists, and “experts” in obesity are scandalized. Were there any complaints from the children themselves or their parents?

Gazette-HabitHeroes-screen

“It’s so dumbfounding it’s unreal,” says Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, an assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Ottawa. “I just can’t believe somebody out there thought it was a good idea to pick up where the school bullies left off and shame kids on their vacation.” Freedhoff  thinks it’s terrible that “society does believe (weight control) is about willpower and calisthenics.” So what does he thinks causes obesity? Bad genes? Toxic chemicals? Lack of bariatric surgery? Sorry Yoni, it’s called the First Law of Thermodynamics. Energy can’t be destroyed. It has to go somewhere. Whatever calories one eats has to go into work or fat storage. As the creators of Habit Heroes and anyone else who knows a little science realizes, eating too many calories mostly due to junk food addiction is the cause of obesity. The sooner children learn this fundamental law of physics and its consequences, the better. If obese children and their obese parents are offended by a law of physics, we have no sympathy.

“Rebecca Scritchfield, an adjunct professor at George Washington University, said she was “disgusted” by the exhibit’s implication that weight is indicative of health, writing: “I would love to know what sickos thought this up.” It seems Dr Scritchfield hasn’t read the literature proving that obesity reduces life expectancy and contributes to a large number of chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and atherosclerosis.

Is educating children that a law of physics mandates that they shouldn’t be eating junk food and not moving more traumatic than them imagining Darth Vader destroying a planet? Are the many obese among them being “bullied” and “shamed?” Should they never be told that obesity will shorten their lives? Is it soul-destroying or empowering to suggest that people have to take some responsibility for their actions?

Not surprisingly the exhibit lasted only 3 weeks before it was shut down and the web site was “down for maintenance.”

We very much doubt that this exhibit will ever re-open. Anything that they say that even hints that obese children or adult have the freedom to make choices that affect their health can be interpreted as “shaming” or “bullying”. Cultural relativism denies the existence of free will in any domain and demands that all problems of identifiable groups be blamed on “social injustice” ; no one should ever be blamed for the consequences of their actions.

What really puzzles us is that the directors of Disney World should take this altruistic decision to promote healthy habits, knowing that some of their clients, parents and children, might be offended by the implication that their habits need changing and possibly cutting into the junk food sales in the park. Maybe they have seen some of our photos of the massive obesity of many visitors to Disney World and decided they had to do something to counteract this image. Of course, they should have included the parents in their message.

Disney World

 

Posted in addiction, ccsvi, multiple sclerosis | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

“The perfect crime? CCSVI not leaving a trace in MS” – “Liberation” is a hoax

Posted by Colin Rose on February 4, 2011

Just published today, is a report of the first independent investigation by Christopher Mayer, et al from Germany with no connection to drug companies that attempts to use Zamboni’s Doppler technique for diagnosing “CCSVI” but in a rigorously controlled and blinded manner.

Conclusion: “This triple-blinded controlled study does not support insufficient extra- and intracranial venous flow in MS. Together with two other recent studies, this constitutes compelling evidence against a significant contribution of CCSVI to the pathogenesis of MS. As interventional procedures such as transluminal angioplasty are derived from the non-confirmed CCSVI concept and can result in serious adverse events, we strongly discourage the use of these procedures on the grounds of the present evidence.”

At least four blinded studies using magnetic resonance venography came to the same conclusion.

This is what we predicted in November, 2009 when Zamboni’s “breakthrough” was first announced by the scoop-hungry media. The absurdity of the concept was quite obvious but emotional YouTube videos of instantaneous improvement in symptoms overwhelmed rational thought.

Face it, true believers. No blinded study using any technique has been able to reproduce Zamboni’s data. Zamboni succumbed to irrational self deception in a futile attempt to cure his wife’s MS. “CCSVI” doesn’t exist. All “liberation” factories should be shut down, now. Any doctor who continues to do “liberation” should lose his or her license to practice.

If nothing else of use results from the Zamboni fad, which has cost patients, charities and governments at least $one billion, we should have learned a number of lessons:

  • the absolute necessity for careful blinding of clinical trials before a paper on them is accepted by any medical journal.
  • the necessity for regulation of surgical procedures in the same way as drugs are regulated.
  • the necessity for ethical doctors to increase their presence in the internet social media to counteract patient hysteria and the venality of some members of their profession.
  • before media reporters are allowed to report on medical and scientific topics must take a course in assessment of the validity of publications in journals.
  • in this internet age, high school science education, in addition to the standard curricula, needs to teach skills in the assessment of the validity of data and conclusions drawn from them, using the Zamboni fad as a classic example of what not to do.

The fad has also put a focus on the powerful effects of faith healing on the symptoms of MS as seen in this video.

Exactly the same instantaneous “cures” are shown in numerous post “liberation” videos. Faith in modern technology, pseudo-science and surgeons is replacing faith in the traditional saviours. The psychology underlying faith healing in MS needs investigation. Because of the intermittent and prolonged nature of the disease, MS patients are particularly prone to faith healing, when they are given some hope for the future. There seem to be a lot of MS patients whose symptoms are to some degree subconsciously self-inflicted out of depression or to attract sympathy who could be helped with the right form of psychotherapy.

Posted in ccsvi, faith healing, liberation, multiple sclerosis, Zamboni | 68 Comments »

Paolo Zamboni-Medical Con Man Supreme-Patenting a Disease

Posted by Colin Rose on January 26, 2011

When I first heard about Paolo Zamboni’s miraculous surgical “cure” for multiple sclerosis, I had supposed, that in addition to his desire to treat in wife’s MS, he was motivated by the delusion that he could earn a place in the medical pantheon, alongside Jenner, Salk, Banting etc. Only after viewing various internet postings has it become clear to me that Zamboni  plans to make himself a billionaire by patenting a disease, “CCSVI”, and the means to diagnose it. He realizes that he can’t patent the “liberation” procedure which is now done by dozens of avaricious, unscrupulous surgeons around the world but he can patent the machinery to diagnose the condition for which “liberation” is the treatment.

In 2008 he applied for a US patent for a “System for Diagnosing Multiple Sclerosis”.  Note that there is no mention of his employer, the University of Ferrara anywhere in the application. If the University had considered “CCSVI” to be a significant innovation it would surely have insisted on applying for the patent as is its right. Also, note that he does not claim just to be diagnosing “CCSVI” or just neck vein abnormalities. Apologists for Zamboni often claim that he is only diagnosing “CCSVI” and only secondarily MS. To quote: “An embodiment of the invention is a system for diagnosing multiple sclerosis based on the determination of the rate of reflux, increased indices of resistance in the cerebral veins for providing clinical data useful for diagnosing multiple sclerosis.”

At the same time Zamboni is acting as a consultant to Esaote, a Genoa-based manufacturer of ultrasound equipment which is selling the only machine approved by Zamboni for diagnosing “CCSVI”. No doubt Zamboni envisions this machine being bought by the thousands, if not tens of thousands by radiology departments in hospitals around the world to screen for “CCSVI” in everyone under age 40 so that they can  be treated for “CCSVI” by his “liberation” procedure and presumably prevent MS. Curiously, the description of this machine only appears in the site of the Bulgarian purveyor of “liberation” not in Esaote’s own site. I suspect that Esaote doesn’t want to publicize the use of transcranial Doppler for studying intracranial veins with the Zamboni machine because this technique has never been validated and is not used in legitimate ultrasound labs. Transcranial Doppler has a few uses for looking at cerebral arterial blood flow that do not include trying to image venous flow which would be hard to distinguish from arterial flow, as recommended by the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

“Settings in which transcranial Doppler ultrasonography (TCD) is able to provide information and in which its clinical utility is established.

  1. Screening of children aged 2 to 16 years with sickle cell disease for assessing stroke risk (Type A, Class I), although the optimal frequency of testing is unknown (Type U).
  2. Detection and monitoring of angiographic vasospasm (VSP) spontaneous subarachnoid hemorrhage (sSaH) (Type A, Class I-II). More data are needed to show if its use affects clinical outcomes (Type U).”

TCCS: “transcranial color-coded duplex sonography”, ECD: “extracranial EchoColor-Doppler”. These two forms of imaging are somehow combined by the special software in the  PC to diagnose “CCSVI”. In other words, this disease can only be diagnosed with Zambonis machine. Zamboni is attempting to patent a disease.

Of course, the only way one can learn to use the Zamboni “CCSVI” machine is to take special training from the master himself or from one of his franchises. The Hilarescere Foundation is Zamboni’s charity, the scientific committee of which doles out money to him and his friends.

Unfortunately for him, Zamboni is unlikely to make much from his machine. Most of the charlatans around the world doing “liberation” don’t bother to do transcranial Doppler to document “reflux” in intracranial veins. Too much hassle. Like Marian Simka in Poland, the scammers just do a fast scan of neck veins with  regular Doppler that shows pulses on the screen and makes swishing noises which seems  to be enough to convince the desperate patient that he/she needs “liberation” @ $10,000. Note that Simka is not doing transcranial Doppler, just neck scanning with a small portable Doppler machine. And there is certainly no computer in sight  to analyze the data as required  by the Zamboni patent application. This patient is even demanding to have stents inserted [more money], so fearful is he of having a “restenosis” and not being able to afford to return to Poland for another “liberation.”

Here is a Zamboni machine that isn’t a hoax.

Posted in angioplasty, ccsvi, junk science, liberation, multiple sclerosis, Zamboni | 4 Comments »

Zivadinov proves Zamboni’s “CCSVI” does not exist

Posted by Colin Rose on January 15, 2011

Almost a year ago at a much heralded news conference Dr. Robert Zivadinov, a Buffalo-based early disciple of Paolo Zamboni, claimed to show some difference in the presence of venous flow patterns in the heads of MS patients compared to controls using special Doppler ultrasound techniques that had never been validated. He never published the details of this study and has apparently abandoned ultrasound in favour of MRI venography which gives an overall picture of venous flow patterns in all head and neck veins. Zivadinov has now published a well-blinded study using MRV in MS patients and healthy controls which shows no difference in venous flow patterns in the two groups. There are almost blocked internal jugular veins in some MS patients and some normal people. But such blockages are insignificant because of the extensive collateral veins and the emissary veins connecting intra- and extra-cerebral venous circulations, as I described in my original response the Zamboni hypothesis.

I quote from the Discussion section of the paper: “We did not find significant differences between MS patients and HC subjects or between RR and SP MS patients in regard to collateral circulation. This is indeed an important finding because it does not support collateral circulation as a compensatory mechanism of CCSVI.” Such “abnormal” collateral flow was a crucial part of the Zamboni hypothesis.

As I said in response to Zivadinov’s first “study” of “CCSVI”, real scientific discussion is not conducted by news conference. Those who thought otherwise should now be convinced that only publications in respected journals following the time-honoured format for scientific communication are worthy of consideration.

With this paper and at least three others showing the same result, we now have overwhelming evidence that “CCSVI” is a fantasy, concocted by Paolo Zamboni, a varicose vein surgeon who convinced himself that he could “liberate” his wife from MS by dilating her neck veins. To date, at least $one billion has been wasted on this myth by desperate patients, granting agencies and governments. No further attention or money should be directed at this farce. All MS patients should refrain from paying for “liberation”, a very profitable scam based on the “CCSVI” myth.

Posted in ccsvi, ethics, liberation, multiple sclerosis, professionalism, randomized trial, Zamboni, Zivadinov | 12 Comments »

Zamboni is incapable of doing or unwilling to do legitimate research into his own “CCSVI” and “liberation” fantasy

Posted by Colin Rose on December 19, 2010

Dr. Alain Beaudet is President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and has been trying to navigate between the incessant demands of politicians pressured by desperate MS patients to authorize “liberation” on demand while doing “trials” and the scientific evidence to date showing that “CCSVI” doesn’t even exist.

Apart from exposing more of this political pressure in the Committee hearings, the testimony of  Dr. Beaudet revealed the true nature of Zamboni’s mentality. It is very interesting that Zamboni has effectively dissociated himself from large controlled studies of “CCSVI” diagnosis in Italy by demanding that only he can interpret the images and that he hasn’t received ethical approval or funding for a controlled trial of “liberation”. If Zamboni can’t get ethical approval for “liberation” now, why did the University of Ferrara approve the ethics of Zamboni’s initial testing of “liberation”, even on his wife?  It seems that Zamboni is incapable of writing a successful grant application and that even the Italians are getting a little suspicious of his hypothesis and techniques. I doubt that Zamboni himself will ever do a controlled trial of “liberation”. Why should he? He has gained transient fame and probably fortune by generating world wide hysteria with the tantalizing mirage of an instantaneous surgical cure for MS supported only by YouTube videos of anecdotal miracles. He was very fortunate that his only clinical publication on his hypothesis, an unscientific  concoction of hallucinations, was published, albeit in an obscure journal. He has indirectly compelled real scientists, like Dr. Beaudet and many other legitimate researchers to divert their time and money into dealing with the scientific absurdity of “CCSVI”. So why should Zamboni risk proving himself to be a fraud? When he is proven to be so he will be liable for compensation for the hundreds of millions of dollars wasted on his scam by patients, doctors and granting organizations. Zamboni will eventually  join the ranks of the great medical con men of history in the company of the likes of Dr. Walter Freeman, the ice pick lobotomist.

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Subcommittee on Neurological Disease – Evidence from Alain Beaudet – December 7, 2010

Dr. Alain Beaudet:

I think this is an important point. First of all, Dr. Zamboni was originally part of the very large association studies that involved I think around 20 sites in Italy, and he withdrew from the study. The scientific director of the Italian MS Society told us that he withdrew because he asked that all the images from all the sites be vetted by his own laboratory, which obviously the committee didn’t feel was appropriate. Dr. Zamboni, however, is also applying for a therapeutic trial, a trial this time to investigate the treatment. As far as I know, the study doesn’t have all the funds necessary to be fully carried out. He did receive a bit of money from the province where his lab is, but I don’t know about the status of the ethical approval of this study. He was supposed to receive ethical approval at the beginning of December. I don’t know whether he did receive it.

Do you know? We don’t know.

The last time we spoke to Dr. Battaglia, the scientific director of the Italian MS Society, Dr. Zamboni still hadn’t received the ethical approval for his studies. It was pending, and we were told the beginning of December. What we know, however, is that right now the funding from the province that he’s receiving for that study is not sufficient to carry out the type of study that would be necessary to prove or disprove the efficacy of the treatment.

Posted in alain beaudet, ccsvi, ethics, junk science, liberation, multiple sclerosis, professionalism, randomized trial, Zamboni | Tagged: | 7 Comments »

Therapeutic knee arthroscopy and vertebroplasty; surgical scams for which we all pay

Posted by Colin Rose on December 18, 2010

These are just more examples of surgical impunity. There are many others such as “bariatric” surgery and coronary angioplasty for chronic coronary disease.

If one wishes to market a drug the FDA and Health Canada demand proof of effectiveness and safety requiring many years and many millions of dollars worth of research and clinical trials. But any surgeon can concoct some superficially attractive operation and he and his colleagues can make millions of dollars selling it before anyone gets around to doing a controlled trial of the procedure out of curiosity, not because surgeons are required to do so. Why do surgeons enjoy impunity from scientific proof demanded of drug makers?

Even if there is hard scientific proof that a procedure is totally useless, surgeons are still free to perform them and get paid for doing them by insurance companies and medicare. There are good trials of therapeutic knee arthroscopy for osteoarthritis and vertebroplasty with sham operated controls showing the total absence of benefit of these procedures and yet they are still done. See below for excerpts from these reports. These trials also show the necessity for SHAM OPERATED CONTROLS in testing any surgical procedure for chronic diseases. Sham operation are perfectly ethical when a procedure is not proven to have benefit and has risks associated with it.

Dr. Yee says, “… there’s a bit of a lag in catching up with the evidence. That’s normal.” What’s “normal” about the lag? Surgeons are illiterate? Surgeons are destitute? If a procedure is shown to be useless, just stop doing it. Why aren’t these procedures delisted immediately? Some surgeons might miss the payments on their Jags? They might decide to go to the US?  If they are doing useless operations who needs them anyway? If a drug, approved on the basis of small clinic trials, is found to have unexpected serious side effects when sold to the general population, it is delicensed and instantly removed from the pharmacist shelves. Why is should surgical procedures not be instantly halted if proven to be useless?

With this rampant dereliction of professionalism by some surgeons one can hardly blame patients with MS for also demanding that medicare support a more recent unproven, scientifically absurd surgical scam, Zamboni’s “liberation” treatment for “CCSVI”, his fantasy for the cause of MS.

A toilet money award goes to all surgeons performing therapeutic knee arthroscopy for osteoarthritis and vertebroplasty

 

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Common back and knee surgeries fail to ease pain: study

ANDRÉ PICARD,

PUBLIC HEALTH REPORTER— From Friday’s Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010 6:48PM EST
Last updated Friday, Dec. 17, 2010 7:12AM EST

There are thousands of unnecessary surgeries being done on the knees and backs of Canadians, particularly patients with osteoarthritis, a new report concludes.

There were 3,600 therapeutic knee arthroscopies and 1,050 vertebroplastiescarried out in Canadian hospitals in the fiscal year 2008-09, according to new data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

In both cases, there is mounting evidence that the procedures are largely ineffective to combat certain ailments, and those are but two examples cited in the report that more needs to be done to align care with evidence that it actually helps patients, said John Wright, the president and CEO of CIHI. “Evidence and appropriateness of care are a significant issue in Canada’s health-care debate,” he said.

Mr. Wright said improving efficiency is one of the keys to getting health spending under control.

Knee arthroscopy, a minimally invasive surgery, was once used to diagnosis and treat a host of minor knee problems. But it has fallen out of favour as studies showed it did little to reduce pain and that a large number of patients went on to have knee replacements within one year.

Vertebroplasty is a spinal surgery in which bone cement is infused into fractured vertebrae through a small incision. Recent research has shown that people with compression fractures (a common problem in those with osteoporosis) are not any better that those who undergo a placebo (or fake) procedure. Yet the number of vertebroplasties done in Canada has doubled over the past three years.

Albert Yee, an orthopedic surgeon at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, said that the new data are useful but they should not be interpreted as meaning that surgeons are ignoring evidence. With most innovative technologies and surgical techniques, he said, “over time, there are scientific studies that refine the appropriate indications and there’s a bit of a lag in catching up with the evidence. That’s normal.”

Dr. Yee said he hopes policy-makers will not use this data as an excuse to delist procedures like arthroplasty and vertebroplasty (meaning they would no longer be paid by medicare): “I think we need to be careful. These procedures work for some patients; we just need to use them for the proper indications.”

The CIHI report also underscored, once again, the large variations in the number of cesarean sections and hysterectomies performed in various parts of Canada. For example, 23 per cent of birthing women in Newfoundland and Labrador had a c-section, compared to just 14 per cent in Manitoba.

With hysterectomies – the surgical removal of the uterus and sometimes the fallopian tubes and ovaries as well – rates range from a low of 311 per 100,000 population in B.C. to a high of 512 per 100,000 population in PEI.

“When we see these kinds of variations, it is a cue to start asking questions about whether the care being provided is appropriate,” said Jeremy Veillard, vice-president of research and analysis at CIHI. “Reducing unnecessary surgical procedures is beneficial to the patient but there are cost implications for the system as well.”

Mr. Veillard noted that cesarean deliveries cost about twice as much as vaginal births – an average $4,930 versus $2,265. Nationally, hospital costs related to cesareans total about $292-million a year. If nationwide c-section rates were lowered to Manitoba’s level of 14 per cent, there would be 16,200 fewer surgeries annually and an estimated $36-million in savings. Flattening out the regional variations in hysterectomies would deliver similar savings.

According to CIHI, hospitalizations for hysterectomies cost $192-million a year. If the national rate was reduced to B.C.’s current level, 3,700 fewer women a year would undergo the procedure and that would generate savings of $19-million.

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Posted in angioplasty, bariatric surgery, ccsvi, multiple sclerosis, professionalism, randomized trial, sham operation, surgery, therapeutic knee arthroscopy, vertebroplasty, Zamboni | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

Majority of Canadians believe Zamboni’s “CCSVI” and “liberation” scam; science education is pitiful

Posted by Colin Rose on December 15, 2010

There is no better example of why the general population should have a good grounding in the basic principles of scientific investigation than this poll. It is a given that when the politicians digest these results and realize the thousands of votes they could gain by appeasing the majority, they will start throwing  hundreds of millions of dollars at Zamboni’s scam regardless of the junk science upon which it is based. Why would they care? They are already throwing money at bariatric surgery, an equally scientifically absurd scam. What’s a few more hundred million to keep the population happy in their world of surgical fantasies. So, prepare to see more of your tax dollars flushed down the toilet of surgical scams.

A Toilet Money Award to all Canadians who think "liberation" treatment for MS is beneficial.

Clearly our primary and high school science courses are failing the population if they readily accept an obviously suspicious, instantaneous cure for a chronic degenerative disease and can’t ask the right questions about Zamboni’s hypothesis and the reason for the  improvement in subjective symptoms in the YouTube videos of some of the MS patients who have been “liberated.”

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Canadians support liberation treatment trials: survey

CTV.ca News Staff

Date: Wednesday Dec. 15, 2010 6:48 PM ET

A vast majority of Canadians believe the federal government should support clinical trials of the controversial “liberation treatment” for multiple sclerosis, and say it should be available in Canadian hospitals for patients who request it, according to a new survey.

In an online poll of 2,011 Canadian adults conducted Dec. 13 to Dec. 15, polling firm Angus Reid found that three quarters of respondents support government-funded clinical trials, while 82 per cent support making the treatment available to Canadian patients.

The poll found that 37 per cent of respondents had seen, read or heard something about the procedure, while another 13 per cent said they were well-informed about the treatment.

Half of respondents had never heard of the procedure.

The so-called liberation treatment has sparked a great deal of controversy over its founder’s claims that MS is not an autoimmune disorder, as most experts believe, but rather a vascular problem that can be treated with balloon angioplasty.

The theory and treatment were developed by Italian vascular surgeon Dr. Paolo Zamboni, whose research suggests that the majority of MS patients have blockages in veins in their necks that prevent blood from draining from the brain. According to Zamboni, these blockages cause toxic levels of iron to build up in the brain, which triggers MS symptoms such as fatigue and paralysis.

Zamboni called the condition cerebrospinal venous insufficiency, or CCSVI, and began treating it with balloon angioplasty to open blocked veins.

Despite Zamboni’s research, and successful follow-up studies conducted at the University of Buffalo, experts have remained skeptical of the treatment based on other research that has failed to prove the liberation treatment’s benefits.

Earlier this year, the Canadian and U.S. MS Societies announced that they will offer $2.4 million in research grants for studies on Zamboni’s theory. But the federal government has said it will abstain from funding clinical trials until further research is completed.

Meanwhile, patients buoyed by Zamboni’s findings are travelling to foreign countries to have the liberation treatment, at great personal expense (and at great personal risk). Some patients have reported complications since returning home. One patient died in October after developing a blood clot around a stent that was put in during a procedure in Costa Rica.

The Quebec College of Physicians has warned patients that further research must be done on the treatment to prove its effectiveness and advised them not to seek treatment at overseas clinics.

But many Canadian patients have returned from outside Canada reporting a vast improvement in their symptoms. And the Angus Reid survey found that many Canadians believe the patients over the experts.

When asked which side of the debate over the liberation procedure they agreed with most, 61 per cent said they side with MS sufferers who have had the treatment and claim it has provided relief. Twelve per cent support the doctors who claim the treatment is unproven and risky, while 27 per cent said they weren’t sure.

The survey was conducted online between Dec. 13 and Dec. 15 and has a margin of error +/- 2.2 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Posted in ccsvi, liberation, multiple sclerosis, Zamboni | 6 Comments »

University of Maryland solicits donations from desperate MS patients to support Zamboni’s “CCSVI” and “liberation” scam

Posted by Colin Rose on December 5, 2010

A Toilet Money Award to the University of Maryland

The temptation was too great. American and Canadian professional fund raisers and catheter-wielding interventional radiologists around the world have been drooling over the ability of foreign clinics in places like India, Poland, Mexicao, Costa Rica, Bulgaria and Egypt to rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars per week flogging the Zamboni “CCSVI” and “liberation” scam for “treating” MS patients. So fund raisers at the University of Maryland, following the example of those at the University of British Columbia, convinced or, more likely, were convinced by Dr. Ziv Haskal, an interventional radiologist who stands to make many millions of dollars doing “liberation”, to ride Zamboni’s “CCSVI” hysteria to fatten the endowment of the University while giving legitimacy to the scam. UBC is using the scam to raise funds for a new MRI machine that will probably be used for other purposes than trying to diagnose “CCSVI”. But U of M is using the bait of implying that Haskal will actually be doing “liberation”. If so, this will be the first university-sanctioned use of “liberation” other than Zamboni’s University of Ferrara. Neither university is in the top 100 of the world’s universities. Ferrara isn’t even in the top 500.

Perhaps we should not be too surprised. After all, only 40% of the US population accepts the theory of evolution as the explanation for the variety of life on the planet, the most important scientific concept in history; presumably, the majority, 60%, believe in some form of creation or “intelligent design”. If one can believe the latter, one should have no reservations about accepting that internal jugular veins can cause damage to the brain without raising intracranial pressure and even if it did raise intracranial pressure could cause damage selectively to the  slowly-metabolizing, myelin-producing cell of the white matter BEFORE damaging the much more sensitive rapidly-metabolizing cells of the grey matter of the brain. Interventional radiology, while requiring a certain degree of manual dexterity, certainly doesn’t require more than a superficial knowledge of physiology and metabolism and doesn’t preclude a belief in creation.

“CCSVI” is junk science and its “treatment” by “liberation”, dilating presumably blocked neck veins to “cure” MS, is one of the greatest surgical hoaxes in medical history. Performing any medical procedure with no scientific evidence of benefit but with potential risk is grossly unprofessional and contrary to the Hippocratic Oath.

“CCSVI” is the crack cocaine of surgical scams. It has been estimated that at least three BILLION dollars will be spent next year by MS patients pursuing the Zamboni’s mirage, dwarfing other recent surgical scams like “bariatric” surgery.

 

Posted in ccsvi, ethics, liberation, multiple sclerosis, professionalism, surgery, Zamboni | Tagged: | 35 Comments »

“Liberation” treatment for Zamboni’s “CCSVI” is subsidized by the Canadian taxpayer

Posted by Colin Rose on November 29, 2010

I, for one, don’t want my taxes going up to support foreign charlatans.

Revenue Canada says that travel expenses must be backed up by a letter from a Canadian doctor indicating the treatment is necessary and could not be received here. Why would a Canadian doctor with professional integrity sign such a letter? Any medical treatment that is really necessary and has been scientifically proven to be beneficial is already available in Canada. If the treatment isn’t available in Canada then it is not a legitimate treatment and shouldn’t be supported by the tax system.

As for for Zamboni’s “liberation” treatment for MS, it is a classic example of junk science justified by the ruse of “CCSVI”, whose only benefit is to the bank accounts of foreign charlatans but with potential harm and is certainly not “necessary.” A “treatment” with no scientifically proven benefit but with any potential risk has an infinite risk/benefit ratio. A physician who signs a statement that the “liberation” treatment was necessary for treating MS is being grossly  unprofessional and acting contrary to the Hippocratic Oath.


Unproven treatments get indirect subsidies
BY TOM BLACKWELL
National Post
29 Nov 2010

The federal government is indirectly subsidizing a variety of sometimes unproven medical treatments in other countries, as multiple sclerosis sufferers and other patients claim thousands of dollars in medical tax credits for foreign health-care…read more…

Posted in ccsvi, junk science, multiple sclerosis, professionalism, surgery, Zamboni | 1 Comment »

Zamboni’s “liberation” scam for MS can kill

Posted by Colin Rose on November 19, 2010

No one would be denied treatment in Canada for a real jugular vein thrombosis if it were causing any specific symptoms such as pain or swelling in the neck. What I gather from the news report is that the only indication for IV thrombolysis was worsening of his MS symptoms which were ASSUMED to be due to a clot in the stent. If one has spent $30,000 on a treatment that one is convinced must be a cure, one is reluctant to accept that it doesn’t work and that relapse must be due to restenosis requiring more “liberation”. Inserting stents into normal thin-walled veins is hazardous. If the vein were torn it would be very hard to repair. Marcial Fallas, the Costa Rican doctor now claims he didn’t want to use a stent. So why did he? Is there the slightest evidence that a stent would have given Mostic “his life back?” How much extra did Fallas charge for inserting a stent?  Is this professional behaviour?

Mostic obviously bled to death internally. Without an autopsy one can never know from which vessel. My guess would be that the stent tore the IJV or the subclavian vein and that he bled into his chest, possibly when clot that might have been blocking the tear was dissolved with thrombolysis.

I predicted such tragedies a year ago when CTV announced this “breakthrough” in MS treatment. Those advocating unrestricted “liberation” on demand now have blood on their hands.

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Man dies after controversial MS treatment, doctor says

By ADRIAN MORROW
Globe and Mail Update

Patient had returned to Canada, but went back to Costa Rica after blood clot developed

A Canadian man with multiple sclerosis who travelled to Costa Rica to undergo a controversial procedure in June died from complications during follow-up surgery, his doctor said Thursday.

Mahir Mostic, a 35-year-old resident of Niagara Region, went to Clinica Biblica in San Jose last June to be given “liberation therapy,” a procedure in which neck veins are opened up, in hopes of improving blood flow from the brain.

The treatment is based on an unproven hypothesis advanced by Italian doctor Paolo Zamboni that MS is caused by poor blood circulation from the central nervous system, leading to buildups of iron. The procedure is not performed in Canada.

Mr. Mostic’s Costa Rican doctor, Marcial Fallas, said he tried unsuccessfully using balloon angioplasty to open up his patient’s vein, before resorting to inserting a stent, a riskier procedure.

“We are not okay with the idea of a stent,” Dr. Fallas told the Globe and Mail. “But he was desperate, he wanted his life back.”

Mr. Mostic, who had been diagnosed with MS three years ago and had difficulty walking, thought it over and opted for the stent, Dr. Fallas said.

At first, Mr. Mostic showed improvement, but his MS symptoms eventually returned. An ultrasound showed his stent was 80 per cent blocked, Dr. Fallas said.

The doctor said Mr. Mostic returned to the clinic in October, and he was injected with medication in a bid to dissolve the clot. The day after the procedure, his blood pressure began to drop and Dr. Fallas suspects he suffered internal bleeding. Doctors tried to find the source of the bleeding, but to no avail. For religious reasons, his family requested that his body not be autopsied, Dr. Fallas said.

Mr. Mostic’s family declined to comment.

Dr. Zamboni’s hypothesis – called chronic cerebro-spinal venous insufficiency, or CCSVI – is highly contentious. While the medical community generally regards MS as an auto-immune disease, many sufferers have undergone the procedure, crossing borders to do so.

Some have reported blood clots similar to those Mr. Mostic suffered, but have had trouble getting follow-up care in Canada, said Diana Gordon, a Barrie woman who was given the treatment at a clinic in the United States in June.

“When [Mr. Mostic] got back, he should have been allowed surgery after-care, it should have been no problem,” she said. “People don’t have the funds to travel to other countries.”

Researchers in Canada and the United States are studying CCSVI, while Saskatchewan has offered to fund a clinical trial to test the effectiveness of the vein-opening procedure.

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