Friday, February 10, 2012


“What happens when the medical system and hope collide?” This is the question raised by MS WARS: HOPE, SCIENCE AND THE INTERNET an episode of The Nature of Things that aired February 9 2012 on CBC TV.
It all started in 2009 when Dr. Paolo Zamboni,
an Italian surgeon whose wife has multiple sclrosis, launched a small study in which favourable symptom reduction was achieved when some MS patients had simple surgery to open veins in their necks. After that, according to host David Suzuki, there began a race between hope—a phenomenon that spread among patients like wildfire over the Intrnet, and the long-trusted medical process of testing hypotheses and developing treatments. The medical establishment was directing money into long term projects—the development of stem cell research, for example. The patients, seeing a chance for some relief in the present, successfully diverted these funds to support studies of Zamboni’s so-called Liberation Therapy. It is still unclear how much of the benefit of liberation therapy is attributable to the placebo effect, but it is clear that many patients have achieved cymptom relief, often at great expense as they travelled to far-away countries for a surgical procedure which was routinely performed in Canada for other purposes, but disallowed as a treatment for the symptoms of MS.
Regardless of what the long term results may show, in the current battle that Suzuki frames as hope vs medical establishment protocol, hope is the clear winner.

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