Can an Abnormality in Your Neck Cause MS? Posted by: Dr. Mercola

December 15 2009 | 32,640 views

Dr. Paolo Zamboni has come upon an entirely new idea about how to treat multiple sclerosis, one that may profoundly change the lives of patients.

He found that scientists who had studied the brains of MS patients had noticed higher levels of iron in their brain, not accounted for by age. The iron deposits had a unique pattern, often forming in the core of the brain, clustered around the veins that normally drain blood from the head.

Dr. Zamboni wondered if the iron came from blood improperly collecting in the brain. Using Doppler ultrasound, he began examining the necks of MS patients and made an extraordinary finding. Almost 100 percent of the patients had a narrowing, twisting or outright blockage of the veins that are supposed to flush blood from the brain. He then checked these veins in healthy people, and found none of these malformations. Nor did he find these blockages in those with other neurological conditions.

Zamboni dubbed the vein disorder he discovered CCSVI, or Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency. He enlisted the help of vascular surgeon Dr. R. Galeotti. The team began a study in which they treated 65 MS patients to see if endovascular surgery would restore flow in these vessels and lessen MS symptoms.

Preliminary results show patients had a decrease in the number of new MS attacks, a big reduction in the number of brain lesions that define MS, and improved quality of life.

Because the surgery freed the blood flow, the team dubbed the procedure “The Liberation Treatment.”
A separate analysis has also shown that marijuana may help multiple sclerosis patients find relief from the muscle spasms that are the hallmark of the debilitating autoimmune disease. After reviewing six studies where marijuana was used by MS patients, researchers found five of the trials showed that marijuana reduced spasms and improved mobility.


CTV News November 21, 2009

BMC Neurology December 4, 2009

U.S. News & World Report December 4, 2009

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The usual prescription for MS is a cartload of highly toxic medications, including:


Prednisone, a steroid hormone that can significantly impair your immune system, and cause diseases like osteoporosis and cataracts

Interferon. This drug is quite deceptive, because even though it’s a natural substance, it’s typically given in a dose that shuts down your body’s natural feedback loop. As a result, it tends to do more harm than good.

It is my strong recommendation to not use these drugs, and if you’re already on them, to wean yourself off as soon as possible, as they are some of the most toxic drugs used in the field of medicine.

At face value Dr. Zamboni’s approach appears to be a much better option for symptom relief than MS drugs. It is very new, but seems to offer some help with symptoms with a minimum amount of side effects.

His approach is based on research that found higher levels of iron deposits in the brains of MS patients. These deposits were often formed in the core of the brain, clustered around veins that drain blood from the head.

Dr. Zamboni found that nearly all of the patients he examined had narrowing, twisting or blockage of these veins. He reasoned that the blockages were occurring due to a dysfunction of drainage in the veins, and his “liberation treatment” to restore blood flow to these veins has been showing promise to relieve MS symptoms.

However, research suggests that abnormal handling of iron by your body could also lead to the development of brain disorders, so it could be that excess iron is also a contributing factor.

Why Checking Your Iron Levels is So Important

Excess iron can cause damage to the endothelium, the inner lining of blood vessels as well as create massive amounts of free radicals. It can also lead to diseases like cancer, and can damage your DNA.

So if you have MS it is very important to check your blood for iron overload, a process that is easily done through a simple blood test called a serum ferritin test. I believe this is one of the most important tests that everyone should have done on a regular basis as part of a preventive, proactive health screen.

The healthy range of serum ferritin lies between 20 and 80 ng/ml. Below 20, you are iron deficient, and above 80, you have an iron surplus. Ferritin levels can go really high. I’ve seen levels over 1,000, but anything over 80 is likely going to be a problem.

The ideal range is between 40-60 ng/ml.

If you find your iron levels are high, donate your blood. Normally a person would require 1-3 blood draws per year, up to as many as one per month if your system can tolerate it, until your ferritin levels have been sufficiently lowered.

MS Can be Treated With Natural Options

MS is a chronic, degenerative disease of the nerves in your brain and spinal column, caused through a demyelization process.

Myelin is the insulating, waxy substance around the nerves in your central nervous system, and when the myelin is damaged by an autoimmune disease or self-destructive process in your body, then the function of those nerves deteriorate over time, resulting in a number of symptoms, including:


Muscle weakness

Imbalance, or loss of coordination



This is a very serious illness, and I used to dread when people came to my office with MS because there really wasn’t much I could do for them. Since that time, and in researching a vast array of natural health therapies, I realized there are a number of different strategies available, some of which I’ll share with you here.

But first I want to point out that, more often than not, some form of hidden emotional wound can be found in patients suffering with autoimmune diseases like MS. Typically, this wounding occurred at a very young age, almost always before the age of 7, and typically before the age of 5.

Frequently, these emotional injuries result in physical damage decades later, and we’ve found that without effective intervention to address these underlying emotional injuries, you may not be able to get significantly better.

Strategies like meditation, prayer, and Meridian Tapping Techniques (MTT) are particularly effective and need to be part of your overall treatment strategy in order to truly address the root of your illness.

Along with addressing the emotional component, you will want to work with a knowledgeable natural health care practitioner who can help you to:


Optimize your vitamin D levels

In the near future I believe it could be considered malpractice not to carefully monitor the vitamin D level of patients’ with autoimmune disease as the evidence is so profoundly compelling of how useful it is in these condtions.

As with virtually all other autoimmune diseases, optimizing your vitamin D levels is an essential step. Ideally, your level should be somewhere between 70-90 ng/ml, which you can find out through a simple blood test. I recommend using LabCorp for this if you’re in the U.S.

Ideally you’ll want to raise (and maintain) your vitamin D levels by regularly exposing large amounts of your skin to sunshine, or by using a safe tanning bed.

If for any reason neither is available to you, you can use an oral supplement of vitamin D3. Doses for an oral supplement could be as high as 10,000 IU’s a day depending on your current level, so it’s very important to monitor your levels regularly.

* Optimize your essential fat intake

You need to make sure you’re getting a good supply of high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fats such as krill oil.

Part of optimizing your essential fats also includes avoiding damaged, processed fats found in most all processed foods. Especially damaging are the omega-6 fats found in soy-, canola-, and corn oil. These are usually highly oxidized and also contain trans fats and cyclic fats that imbed themselves into your cell membranes, distorting the cellular functions.

* Eliminate sugar

Another crucial element is to eliminate as much sugar as possible from your diet. Cutting out processed foods will go a long way to reduce excess sugar, in addition to eliminating the majority of damaging fats in your diet.

* Eat raw food

This is an important principle for optimal health that I normally recommend for everyone. However, I’ve found that for people with severe autoimmune disease, it’s even more important. Some of the most dramatic improvements we’ve seen in patients using nutritional changes have come about as the result of eating their food raw instead of cooked. That includes eggs and high-quality, organic meats as well.

* Eat the right foods for your Nutritional Type

With Nutritional Typing and some of the emotional work it is very unusual when a person with MS does not improve. Without out a doubt Nutritional Typing has been the most profound nutritional intervention I have ever seen.

Emerging MS Treatments to Keep an Eye On

We’ve seen phenomenal results in patients with MS who have followed the above recommendations, and I’m confident that if you suffer from MS and apply them, you too will notice a dramatic improvement in your condition.

However, there are a few other newer treatments that are worth looking into as well, especially low-dose Naltrexone (LDN), along with alpha lipoic acid.

Naltrexone (generic name) is a pharmacologically active opioid antagonist, conventionally used to treat drug- and alcohol addiction — normally at doses of 50mg to 300mg. As such, it’s been an FDA-approved drug for over two decades.

However, researchers have found that at very low dosages (3 to 4.5 mg), naltrexone has immunomodulating properties that may be able to successfully treat cancer malignancies and a wide range of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s, fibromyalgia, and Crohn’s disease, just to name a few.

Dr. Bert Berkson is an expert on this regimen. For more information about his findings and successes using this combination, please review this previous article.

Mercury is clearly a neurotoxic poison that should also be avoided, so avoiding contaminated fish and refusing or removing mercury dental amalgams are also important aspects. Many still do not realize that the majority of a “silver” filling is in fact mercury, and despite its obvious risks mercury fillings are still used in the field of dentistry.

We are making strong efforts to have mercury eliminated from dental practices in the U.S. and will hopefully succeed in that mission within the next few years. Until then, however, it’s up to you to choose a dentist that has the good sense not to use it, and find a qualified biological dentist to help you safely remove any you already have.

Additionally, there are now a few new supplements to help eliminate mercury from your system. One in particular that appears to be very effective, developed by Dr. Boyd Haley, is called Oxidative Stress Reliever, or OSR for short.

Finally, what about using marijuana to help relieve MS symptoms? Well, marijuana will never be a cure for MS, and may contribute to mental deficits. You are far better off addressing this challenging disease at its source by making the dietary and lifestyle changes described above.