N.B. to fund vein surgery for MS patients - Macleans.ca

N.B. to fund vein surgery for MS patients

Premier keeps promise despite death of Ontario man


New Brunswick Premier David Alward announced his government will create a $500,000 fund to help MS patients seeking controversial vein-opening surgery abroad. Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI) treatment is not approved by Health Canada, nor is it funded by any provinces, so many Canadians are buying the surgery in other countries. The procedure involves opening the neck vein to allow blood to flow back to the heart that might otherwise pool in the brain. Italian researcher Dr. Paulo Zamboni believes that blood pooling in the brain is the cause MS in many people. Zamboni, who was in Ottawa Tuesday to plead for CCSVI treatment, saw impressive results in his small study of 100 patients. Many patients who were wheelchair bound could walk again and the results lasted more than a year in many cases. However, there have not yet been large or rigorous enough trials to convince the medical establishment in North America that the treatment is safe and effective. Despite their caution, Alward promised access to CCSVI treatment during his fall election campaign. The announcement that he’ll keep that promise comes just days after Canadians learned that a St. Catharines, Ont. man, Mahir Mostic, died of complications from a CCSVI treatment he received in Costa Rica. Alward said he spoke to a friend with MS since Mostic’s death, who told him “don’t give up the fight,” for access to the surgery.

CBC News

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