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MS treatment concerns

7th March 2011

An investigation by a BBC programme has questioned a type of treatment for multiple sclerosis which involves widening the veins of patients.

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Research carried out by the Inside Out programme found that a doctor working in Egypt did not have a licence to work there.

Closer to home, the BBC reported that a GP working within the health service was the subject of an investigation by the General Medical Council for arranging the treatment through his own company for £8,000.

The treatment has been called the 'Liberation Procedure' by MS sufferers who think it relieves their symptoms.

During the operation, small balloons are put inside veins in order to stretch them and increase blood flow.

Patients can also have metal devices put inside their veins to keep them open. The idea behind the treatment is based on a theory that MS is the result of blocks inside veins which stop blood flow to the brain.

Dr Doug Brown, head of biomedical research at the MS Society, says: "One of the complicating factors is the placebo effect where people feel better for going through a treatment process but not necessarily because of the treatment directly."

"It's an unproven treatment and until this treatment goes through a clinical trial it is impossible to say if its works and if it is safe for people with MS."

The treatment is not offered by the health service and it has been connected with two deaths abroad.

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