Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) has been the topic of much debate in the MS community since it was first reported by Zamboni in 2009.
In trying to determine the relationship between this altered blood flow in the veins of the brain and MS causation and progression, different research groups have found contradictory results, with Zamboni finding a perfect correlation of CCSVI with MS (that is everybody with MS in their study had CCSVI, and none without MS had CCSVI), others finding an intermediate correlation (including the Buffalo group), and still others finding no association at all.
The researchers at Buffalo University originally examined how common CCSVI was in a large cohort of people with various types of MS, other neurological diseases and people with no illness. They found that CCSVI was present in a little over half the people with MS studied, but also in nearly a quarter of those with no illness.
In this study, funded internally by the University and by grants from the Direct MS Foundation, the Jacquemin Family Foundation and smaller donors, they followed up on their original study with a re-analysis of their findings, looking specifically at whether having venous blood flow abnormalities correlated with how disabled the PwMS were.
Results of study
They found no relationship between the presence of CCSVI, or its severity, and how disabled the PwMS were. They did however find that those with CCSVI were more than twice as likely to have progressive forms of MS, rather than relapsing-remitting MS.
The researchers speculated that the abnormal venous blood flow seen in CCSVI probably gets progressively worse because of the chronic inflammation in the brains of PwMS, particularly in the walls of the veins.
In another recently published paper from the same group in American Journal of Neuroradiology, these researchers found no association between CCSVI and the number or volume of brain lesions on MRI for PwMS.
While the exact nature of CCSVI and its relation to the causation and progression of MS remains unclear, these studies do not support a major effect of CCSVI on disability or MRI lesions for PwMS.
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