Friday 21 October 2011

Ben Goldacre: Battling bad science | Video on

TED Talks Every day there are news reports of new health advice, but how can you know if they're right? Doctor and epidemiologist Ben Goldacre shows us, at high speed, the ways evidence can be distorted, from the blindingly obvious nutrition claims to the very subtle tricks of the pharmaceutical ind...

Thursday 13 October 2011

Quote worth sharing by Michael Dake Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford, California, USA

Clearly, a genuine collaboration that respectfully encourages involvement of all interested
parties could lead to the most objective, efficient and conclusive scientific investigations of CCSVI, but make no mistake; this will require the successful tackling of many tough challenges. Daunting impediments include: vested interests, silos with different cultures, hidden agendas, and diverse levels of understanding, strong egos, messenger killers, entrenched dogmatists, sanctimonious pontificators, cynical nihilists, and a whole range of biases.

Wednesday 5 October 2011

Nothing what so ever to do with CCSVI, just funny. Also Dugald is my boy!
New advertisement starring Dugald Blanchard Ferguson, Marianne, and lots of others that I'll credit once I've got a programme in front of me... I just can't ...

Tuesday 4 October 2011

Venous stents are now available for the treatment of (recurrent) venous stenoses.

The stents used at the CCSVI-Center in Frankfurt are wide enough for the large diameter of veins and ultra-flexible, a prerequisite for long-term patency in veins.

Contrary to arteries, which have thick and rather rigid walls, veins have thin, very flexible walls, which allow the veins to change their shape and diameter according to blood volume and external pressure. Stiff arterial stents, which cannot change their shape together with the vein which accommodates them, might injure the thin wall of the veins, thus increasing the risk for thombosis.

Thursday 29 September 2011

Studies in 2011 Could Decide MS Theory's Validity

Preliminary studies have suggested that a phenomenon called Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency (CCSVI), a reported abnormality in blood drainage from the brain and spinal cord, may contribute to nervous system damage in MS. ...................

Wednesday 28 September 2011

Tuesday 27 September 2011
Researchers have discovered a way to produce huge amounts of myelinating cells in a short amount of time – paving the way for revolutionary treatment in ..............

It has become clear that one of the main issues with CCSVI is venous hypertension; raised pressure within the venous system of the brain. This increased pressure is transmitted to the deep veins in the white matter of the brain and in time affects the integrity of the tight junctions of the blood brain barrier.......

Wednesday 21 September 2011

Post by Brian Sullivan- I like this one

MS means: Major Struggle. Menacing Sickness. Maybe Someday. My Sentence. Might Stumble. Malfunctioning System. Money Sucker. Many Symptoms. Mean Spots. Medication Shackles. Missing Something. Moving Slower. Mind Slipping. Memory Sucks. Myellin Scars. Moping Sometimes. Madly Searching. Marbles Stolen. Major Set-back. Motor Sputters. Multiple Scars. Multiple Sclerosis. One day, I hope it has one meaning....Mystery Solved
CCSVI Symposium 2011 - Second Annual Meeting Crowne Plaza Hotel Times Square, Manhattan New York, NY July 15-17, 2011 Venous Hemodynamics i...

A look back at my journey since my daughter's ccsvi treatment:
How can I describe this blog: a diary, washing my dirty laundry in public, sharing my experience of my daily battle with my daughter's MS, or my journey through my inner life? You tell me...

Wednesday 7 September 2011

 The Breakthrough Treatment for MS | View it in your browser.
The Essential Health Clinic
Dealing with Valves in CCSVI

Treatment of CCSVI has developed rapidly in the past 2 years with over 75 centres worldwide now offering differing forms of angioplasty procedures. Some centres are very research orientated with a steady flow of good quality research adding to the body of evidence supporting CCSVI as a real entity worthy of intervention.

The draft NICE guidelines in the UK has endorsed this approach and has encouraged further investigation of CCSVI in MS in the UK. We are pleased to have contributed to this process by direct conversations with the NICE committee and providing patient evidence of the effectiveness of this treatment.The excellent safety data from our clinic in Edinburgh is quoted in the draft guidance as well as the studies from Bulgaria and Poland.

It has become clear that one of the main issues with CCSVI is venous hypertension; raised pressure within the venous system of the brain. This increased pressure is transmitted to the deep veins in the white matter of the brain and in time affects the integrity of the tight junctions of the blood brain barrier.
Venous hypertension develops principally because of intraluminal abnormalities such as abnormal membranes, webs and most commonly abnormal jugular valves. A secondary effect of the decreased flow caused by an intraluminal abnormality is the development of collateral veins where the smaller veins enlarge due to increased blood flow. This in turn reduces further the flow in the jugular veins and can lead to stenosis or narrowing of the jugular veins. The presence of stenosis is usually an indicator of intraluminal abnormalities but venous hypertension can still exist in the absence of stenosis.

Treating the valves and other intraluminal abnormalities is therefore a central issue in the treatment of CCSVI and one that all the treatment centres in the world are dealing with. A balance has to be struck however, between aggressively treating the valves with high pressure balloons to reduce venous hypertension, and the possibility of vein damage. Excessive pressure could cause scarring and possibly further venous problems.

We recently discussed this issue with some of the world's leading experts on CCSVI.

Dr Salvatore Sclafani from New York pointed out that the veins are totally dependent on the venous blood for their nutrients and therefore this flow should not be disrupted for any significant period of time. Overenthusiastic and aggressive use of balloon catheters to disrupt valves could be damaging to the veins in the long term if the oxygen supply is reduced by the very procedure which is aimed at restoring normal flow. Current practice in the UK is similar to other centres where the valves and other intraluminal obstructions are treated with a combination of balloons, cutting wires, cutting balloons and particularly double balloons.

Dr Ivo Petrov in Bulgaria has performed over 1300 CCSVI procedures and was closely associated with the development of CCSVI in the UK. His practice is similar to that in the UK when dealing with valves but feels that although current treatment options are bringing good results, that further technical advancements will continue to improve the procedure.

The use of stents in the neck veins has been one solution to this problem but it has become clear that this approach is associated with increased complications. Professor Simka in Katowice has reported that the use of stents in his unit has dropped from 50% of patients to only 5%.

Professor Paulo Zamboni has obviously given this area much thought and has filed a patent for a device called a valvulotome. He feels this will be the most effective way of dealing with abnormal valves without damaging the vessel wall but on further questioning it became clear that there is no suitable valvulotomes available at present which are the right size for use in the jugular veins.  This type of device is designed to permanently damage the valves without damaging the surrounding veins. It has been used in cardiology to remove the valves of the saphenous veins used in cardiac grafting.

There has been much discussion about the use of valvulotomes between some of the world's leading endovascular CCSVI surgeons including Professor Paulo Zamboni, Mr Donald Reid and Mr Ted Diethrich of Arizona. The current devices are designed to damage normal valves where the cusps are in the expected positions. In CCSVI we face the problem of abnormal valve cusps which will require a different design. Another consideration is the use of these devices in the neck veins could increase the risks in what is a very safe intervention. The anatomy of the jugular veins is such that the left jugular has a marked twist immediately after the valve, which could increase the risk of vein damage with the use of a valvulotome. The right jugular is usually straight which would make this form of treatment potentially less hazardous. Given the nature of the venous system where the drainage is shared bilaterally in the venous sinuses, it begged the question, would treatment of only the right jugular produce a reduction in venous hypertension? We sought the opinion of a Professor of flow mechanics who did extensive calculations on flow and pressure before concluding that he thought that it would improve venous hypertension.
The valves in the jugular veins are not essential with over 20% of the population having no valves in these veins. It is thought that permanent disruption of the valves using balloons alone is not possible at present and that over aggressive high pressure ballooning may risk venous damage.

The future of CCSVI treatment may well involve the development of a new device such as a valvulotome which can safely disrupt the jugular valves and so reduce venous hypertension over a long period of time. We are working with our International colleagues over the development of this.

In the meantime, the encouragement of new research by NICE brings the prospect of angioplasty treatment on the NHS closer to reality. We would encourage all our patients to comment on the current draft guidance from NICE before the end of the public consultation period on 21st September 2011. You can see these on

As it stands, the current draft guidance will help to stimulate interest in CCSVI in the UK and increase the prospect of NHS treatment in the future. It would be hoped that by the time this has become established, techniques will have improved and the valve issue with have been at least partly solved.

Here in the UK, we are at the forefront of these efforts worldwide and will be aiming to continue to provide a  world class service to patients requiring CCSVI treatment.
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Unit 75, Mitchell Arcade, Rutherglen, Glasgow. G73 2LS
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Wednesday 31 August 2011

Poland: The Movie!

Here's a little montage of the trip to Poland for the Liberation Procedure. It's the last little film with Shelly Telly for a while - we'll be back with another co-production in about a month.

Thursday 25 August 2011

 The Breakthrough Treatment for MS | View it in your browser.
The Essential Health Clinic
Effectiveness of CCSVI Treatment

CCSVI is undoubtedly one of the major discoveries in medicine this century. To actually define a new medical condition with anatomical abnormalities is a breathtaking development.

It is no surprise that it has created considerable controversy in the medical world. How could we have missed something so important and indeed there are some published papers which cast doubt on the very existence of CCSVI? Having observed the lesions on Doppler ultrasound, venogram and with intravascular ultrasound, it is clear that this is a real condition and in time all doubts will be cast aside.

The area where there is still some doubt however is whether treating these lesions produces a worthwhile clinical benefit.

CCSVI is a great discovery but is it a breakthrough in treatment for patients with MS and other neurovascular conditions?

The Bologna conference in March 2011, from the International Society of Neurovascular Disease (ISNVD), was a great platform for the presentation of new research into CCSVI. It was also a good forum for introducing the next generation of studies which are aimed at investigating the effectiveness of CCSVI treatment.

The current president of ISNVD is Professor Robert Zivadinov; a consultant neurologist from Buffalo University in New York. His background is in Multiple Sclerosis research mainly into pharmaceutical treatments for the disease. It was very clear from his conference presentations, and in conversation, that he is an academic heavyweight who has concluded that CCSVI is a very important area requiring clinical investigation. He is involved in one of the three randomised controlled trials into CCSVI treatment and has a strong association with Paulo Zamboni and the University of Ferrara.
This combined team from these two Universities, Buffalo and Ferrara, have published an early trial on the effectiveness of treatment in the European Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery (1).

Although the number of patients was small, fifteen in total, the results are suggestive of a positive effect from CCSVI treatment. There was no control group in the study but the angioplasty treatment was staggered with a group of eight patients treated initially and the other seven treated after a six month delay.

One of the traditional study endpoints in MS is the frequency of relapses which was reduced in the early treatment group. Two of the initial group had a relapse in the next six months as opposed to five from the seven who were in the delayed group (had not been treated at that point). Of even greater significance was the fact that the brain volume of the treated group was reduced compared to the untreated group. This would suggest that treatment of the venous outflow from the brain, reduces swelling and inflammation. As Prof Zivadinov suggests, the numbers are too small to make any firm conclusions but the positive outcomes give great encouragement for future research.

As part of our ongoing investigative approach to CCSVI treatment in Scotland, we are collecting a large amount of data
including an independent assessment of neurological function. Early indications are that our results are very similar to those being published and presented at International conferences. It will be some time before we have the data fully analysed but we are very encouraged by the objective improvements reported both here in the UK and abroad,

The largest randomised controlled trial is due to start in Italy , BRAVE DREAMS, is looking at several hundred patients and will hopefully be of a size that can allow more concrete conclusions to be drawn.

Another New York based study at Albany University, under the direction of Dr Manish Mehta, is a prospective randomised double blind trial which aims to recruit 600 patients. Initial results were presented at the Second CCSVI Conference in New York in July 2011. 48 patients who had undergone angioplasty treatment were assessed after 4.5 months using the Expanded Disability Severity Score (EDSS). The EDSS is a very difficult score to improve but in these patients there was a statistical improvement in those with relapsing remitting MS and secondary progressive MS. The patients with primary progressive did not improve on EDSS. 79 patients were evaluated with a timed 25 foot walk which showed significant improvements. He also reported that there were improvements in fatigue and quality of life indices for those who had undergone treatment.

While these results are far from conclusive, in combination with the excellent safety data which has recently been published, they are very encouraging and suggest that CCSVI is not just a major discovery but may also have opened the way for improved treatments for MS.

References :
  1. P. Zamboni, R. Galeotti, B. Weinstock-Guttman, C. Kennedy, F. Salvi, R. Zivadinov,  European Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery 12 August 2011 Venous Angioplasty in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis: Results of a Pilot Study

Wednesday 24 August 2011

Vein procedure to help those with MS | News | Nursing Times

Vein procedure to help those with MS | News | Nursing Times

The're beginning to take notice; keep feeding them information and results, Updated: 24/08/2011 04:03

New research into MS gets go-ahead

A procedure which could relieve symptoms for some people who have MS is to be researched further
A procedure which could relieve symptoms for some people who have MS is to be researched further
The go-ahead has been given for further research into a procedure which could relieve symptoms for some people who have multiple sclerosis.
The procedure, called percutaneous venoplasty, aims to improve blood flow from the brain by using a small inflatable balloon or stent to widen narrowed veins in the neck which carry oxygen-depleted blood.
Multiple sclerosis is the most common disabling neurological condition affecting young adults. Around 100,000 people in the UK have MS.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) is proposing in its draft guidance that the procedure should be used in the context of research only, so further evidence on its safety and clinical efficacy can be developed.
It has been suggested that there could be a link between narrowed veins - called chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency, or CCSVI - and the progression of MS.
Professor Bruce Campbell, chairman of the independent committee that develops Nice's interventional procedures guidance, said: "Multiple sclerosis can be a distressing and disabling condition with a lack of effective treatments.
"This means that it is really important to find out whether percutaneous venoplasty is clinically effective and safe for use in the NHS.
"Based on the existing evidence, we believe that clinicians should only consider offering percutaneous venoplasty as a treatment option for people with MS who fit the diagnostic criteria for CCSVI, as part of structured clinical trials.
"In particular, we would welcome controlled research comparing percutaneous venoplasty against 'sham venoplasty', in the same way that drug treatments are compared to a placebo.
"This is so that we can learn more about whether venoplasty works and for how long. Further research could also improve the understanding of the relationship between MS and CCSVI, as this is very unclear at present."

Monday 22 August 2011

Mobilty pre-Poland: A retrospective blog

This little film shows you a series of clips Dugald and I filmed in the days before we set off on the 2nd August.
A record of the 'state of play' is important to me, just in case I forget how things were.  If I  improve or worsen is almost secondary to my wish that  the  correction of CCSVI has positive effect on MS. In the mean time a 'getting on with it 'approach helps.

Hopes for Liberation Procedure : my retrospective thoughts late one evening in July

Shell and I have started to meet again to edit the footage Dugald took of the Poland trip. This first little film is of me recording my hopes for the trip, last week in July, a week before we set off. 

Thursday 18 August 2011

2 weeks post angioplasty procedure.

Its been 2 weeks since the angioplasty in Poland. The question I'm asked endlessly; any improvements. Yes and No , I mention before that there has been no Damacene moment, I did not expect it but I believe there have been changes by degrees. Bearing in mind I am in the group of  pw MS who respond the least , ie PPMS , EDSS score of 6.5 and having been diagnosed for about 20 years: I wasn't expecting much.

However I am pleased to relate I have felt better by degrees, clearer thinking, creative juices flowing, increased  motivated,  more energy.
I choke less and have fewer naps although I still need these periodically.
These are things I notice and by the people I am most close too. That in itself is heartening . CCSVI just feels so right , far more than just the  auto immune theory which I believe plays a part in this complex disease.

It will be more realistic and there -fore telling when I finish my annual leave and I'm back to work. I work 4 days , 5 hours a day as a antenatal and postnatal  midwife. I will blog again in 2 weeks and then hopefully with a video too.

 I'm looking forward to my follow-up in Poland in February to check my veins and a repeat MRI scan .  Until then  I will bathe in the belief that I have a future and that the end of the line is not inevitable through MS.

Saturday 13 August 2011

Some very inspirational quotes on offer from some very insightful people.
Read and share.

You may need to cut and paste the link on to your browser to view.  If any body knows correctly please email me. I'm willing to learn. Jenny

Monday 8 August 2011

he Breakthrough Treatment for MS | View it in your browser.
The Essential Health Clinic
CCSVI Update
A clear understanding of Multiple sclerosis has proved elusive for generations of doctors and scientists.

The first suggestion that there could be a vascular component to the disease dates back 180 years to Sir Robert Carswell from Glasgow. He was drawing an image of a post mortem sample of brain tissue from an MS patient and commented that "there appears to be vascular lesions here".

Dr Franz Schelling from Austria has been a lone voice for many years in promoting this theory and I spent an intriguing half hour with Franz as he drew the various venous sinuses on napkins at the CCSVI conference in Poland this year. It was Franz who convinced Paulo Zamboni to explore this field and the results of that collaboration has changed the world of medicine. The recent discovery of the importance of CCSVI has filled in many of the gaps in our understanding of the disease.

At the International Society of Neurovascular Diseasemeeting in Bologna in March this year, Dr David Hubbard, a consultant neurologist from San Diego, gave the clearest description of MS that I have ever heard. He described how leakage of blood products across the blood brain barrier caused the initial damage in the brain tissue. The immune system became aware of this damage and was triggered to respond as a secondary event. I sought him out later to congratulate him on his presentation and particularly the clarity of his description of how the vascular and immune parts of the disease interact. This made sense on many levels and explained why most current treatments are only partially effective as they are aimed at the secondary and not the primary driver of the disease. This new paradigm does not exclude the immune system and immune modulating drugs as part of a treatment regime but this new understanding gives new possibilities for treatment with the possibility of improved outcomes.

Treating venous pressure by means of angioplasty could be a relatively safe and easy way of improving outcomes in MS if this theory is proven to be correct. A recent study by Ivo Petrov from Bulgaria, presented a series of over 461 CCSVI procedures carried out in Sofia, showed no major complications which confirmed the safety of angioplasty in MS (1).

A new paper published in the Journal 'Brain' in June 2011 appears to support this new paradigm (2). A research team from Vienna examined post mortem samples of 30 MS patients and 25 controls who died of other causes. For the first time, they have shown that the most recent MS lesions were associated with oxidative stress damage consistent with leakage across the blood brain barrier. Older lesions showed the T lymphocyte infiltration typical of an immune response.

A good demonstration of the damage that blood products can produce is in cellulitis in legs associated with varicose veins. As the veins enlarge, the increased pressure in the vessel causes the junction between endothelial cells lining the vein to widen allowing blood products to leak into the leg tissues. This causes inflammation in the tissues with the classic inflammatory signs of redness, heat, swelling and pain as seen in this image.

The brain has the relative protection of the blood brain barrier but this is simply a tighter connection between endothelial cells, thirty proteins joining the cells as opposed to the usual ten. Increased venous pressure in the deep veins of the brain will eventually loosen even these tight junctions and when the blood products leak into brain tissue the damage will be similar to that seen in leg cellulitis. The secondary immune response is triggered to try in an attempt to limit this damage but in itself, this response can increase inflammation.

After seven years of successfully using LDN in the management of MS, I knew that the immune system was an important factor in all types of the disease. Paulo Zamboni, Franz Schnelling, David Hubbard and others are helping us to understand the complex interplay between the immune system and the venous system in MS. A combined approach to the management of the disease is a logical way forward.

Like any new paradigm, this will take some time to be accepted by all of those involved in treating and raising the awareness of this condition but as the research stacks up, it will become clear that a major step towards understanding and successfully treating MS has taken place.

There is still much to learn and many unanswered questions but CCSVI has taken us a long way towards better understanding and treatment of this complex condition.

References :
  1. Petrov I, Grozdinski L, Kaninski G, Iliev N, Iloska M, Radev A. J Endovasc Ther. 2011 Jun;18(3):314-23. Safety profile of endovascular treatment for chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency in patients with multiple sclerosis.
  2. Haider et al. Oxidative damage in Multiple Sclerosis Lesions. Brain 7th june 2011

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Saturday 6 August 2011


The angioplasty is done after the venography confirmed reduce jugular venous flow and significant reflux.  The balloon angioplasty cleared most of what was possible and normalised the flow of blood from my head.

What a relief it is done! What will happen from now is anybody’s guess. Personally I am hoping for a stop in  the progression of the disease and any improvements that it might afford.  Whether CCSVI believers are right  or wrong, it is so relieving that an interest is being taken in this peculiar disease; information about rehabilitation; and positive words like regaining strength and function and improvement in quality of life; rather than sad shake of the head at our misfortune and a mental writing-off.  It’s all very positive that we might dare to hope, and hope we must.

It’s far too early to start listing gains and losses, hopes and fears, except that I will report a reduction in fatigue and brain fussiness. I believe my thinking is clearer, my husband might disagree. [Not at all – fully agree: husband]  Whilst we are on the subject of husbands, it would be impossible without Dugalds 100% support and encouragement, for which I shall be eternally grateful. Bless you my boy.

I recommend the Ameds Centrum clinic in Grodzick Mazowieski, near Warsaw, Poland. It was extremely professional and well organised with obvious skill, experience and a transparent wish to make things better for people who have previously been hopeless.  They work with integrity, investigating you thoroughly and only doing what is appropriate and safe for you.

 By the way if you mention the source of the recommendation you get a 5% discount (i.e. me). This translates into a good bottle of champagne to celebrate! 

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Facebooks latest offering. They are coming thick and fast now and there will be more to come.

  • Donna Chopyak ‎@ Jan, my friend called me last night to tell me that it was on the news & that was HER NEURO LMAO! Well, she'll be calling me today with info on how soon she can begin her CCSVI journey! We verified & the IR is part of the Hubbard Registry!
    6 hours ago ·  ·  1 person

  • Arlene Pellar Hubbard ‎@Donna, it's great that CCSVI is getting more media attention. We are very happy that Dr McGuckin is part of our registry. The data we collect is so valuable! @Jan you are so right!
    4 hours ago ·  ·  2 people

  • Laura Harrison Lewars Dr. McGucken was the doc who did my procedure a few weeks ago. I liked him alot. I have been dx'd for 16 yrs and have been stable due to herbal therapies I use. The only 2 things I had problems with were small motor functions like writing in my hands and balance issues. I am one in the 1/3 group for moderate improvement post CCSVI. BUT at least it's improvement and with work my handwriting is getting back to the way it used to be 10 yrs ago.
    33 minutes ago ·  ·  2 people

  • Donna Chopyak ‎@ Laura, I know you heard it b4 but I think things will continue to get even better! I'm just elated that it's FINALLY some getting media attention! Having been treated, I think it should be on EVERY STATION for the WORLD to acknowledge!!! I'm so happy for you Laura (& all of us)! :-)
    18 minutes ago · 

Hot pudding for the cold UK summer.

Forever mindful of the gluten and dairy free diet, I would like to suggest this as a very acceptable alternative to the hot pud so beloved by the Brits. Its adapted from Arlene Hubbard’s Beet Bake recipe . Hope you like it as much as I did.
You may have notice I am inordinately fond of red food.

The processor is used for minimum fuss and washing up

1.    Finely grate 4 raw beetroot
2.    Add 2 eggs
3.    Add 2 tea cups of ground almonds
4.    Add ½ cup sugar
5.    Add one teaspn ground cinnamon and a pinch of salt
6.    Process
7.    Add ½ cup whole hazelnuts
8.    Process briefly to break them up
9.    Add ½ cup cranberries
10.  Pulse only to mix
 Coat a loaf tin with oil and sprinkle with ground almonds.
Add cake mixture and bake at 160 degrees for about 1 hour or until done.
Serve with Red berry Sorbet or almond milk custard or both.