"Dr. Zivadinov in Buffalo is now starting a new study, recruiting 1,600 adults and 100 children, half of them MS patients. He plans to use ultrasound and MRI scans to confirm if those with MS also have CCSVI and if their family members have the abnormalities too.
Prof. Mark Haake, a neuro-imaging scientist at McMaster University and Wayne State University in Detroit is also intrigued by Zamboni's findings. He has long been seeing iron deposits in the brains of MS patients using a specialized MRI analysis called SWI - specific weighted imaging. When he saw Zamboni's initial publications, he immediately contacted the Italian doctor and began collaborating.
Population studies under way
Haake too is initiating a study, asking neurological centres across North America and Europe to take some extra MRI scans of the neck and upper chest of MS patients. The scans can then be electronically sent to his research team for analysis. He believes this grassroots approach could spur larger and more in depth studies. He's hoping he can engage MS specialists and vascular surgeons, interventional radiologist around the world to study the theory and then move to diagnosing and treating MS patients quickly.
"I think patients do play a role, because there are millions and millions of dollars donated to MS Societies and a lot of money set aside by the government to study MS research and right now, 99.9 per cent of that money goes somewhere else," he told W5.