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Study Casts Doubt on Link Between MS and Vein Trouble

Last Updated: August 21, 2012.

Researchers say compromised blood flow is not a cause of the disease,.

TUESDAY, Aug. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Changes in blood flow due to abnormalities in veins draining from the brain are not linked to multiple sclerosis, according to a new study.

Researchers in Italy found that compromised blood flow in the veins that drain blood from the brain are not associated with the severity of multiple sclerosis (MS), which can cause numbness, trouble moving, blurred vision and fatigue, as well as problems with thinking and memory.

The researchers, from University of Rome Tor Vergata, noted that their findings challenge previous speculation that the condition, called chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI), is specific to MS and can be treated with endovascular procedures such as stents.

Researchers compared the brain blood flow of 39 people with MS to that of 26 healthy people. Twenty-five of the MS patients and 14 of the healthy people met the criteria for CCSVI. The researchers used imaging technology known as dynamic susceptibility contrast-enhanced MRI to more accurately assess the blood flow in the participants' brains. MRI also was used to assess two structures of their brains.

The study revealed that patients with CCSVI showed decreased brain blood flow and volume compared to the people who did not have the vein abnormality.

Researchers, however, found no link between the participants' brain blood flow and white matter volume, or the severity of MS symptoms.

CCSVI may occur during the course of the disease, but it is not a cause of MS, the researchers concluded.

More information

The U.S. National Institutes of Health provides more information on multiple sclerosis.

SOURCE: Radiological Society of North America, news release, Aug. 21, 2012