The Liberation Treatment is kind of a funny thing. There isn’t really anything new to it at all. Venograms are quite common. Ultrasound is an everyday medical tool for collecting all sorts of information. Angioplasty (ballooning blood vessels) has been a common practice in many treatments for years now.
The only thing that is new is applying these ideas to patients diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Dr. Zamboni, looking at a problem from a perspective outside the usual field of examination, asked a rather curious question: could one system within the body affect another system within the body? Could a circulatory system affect a nervous system?
It’s elegant, to me, in that it’s a kind of derivative work. This is not invention, a bold leap into any unknown areas of knowledge. Instead, it’s piecing together ideas from things already in place, heavily practiced, and highly trusted.
Ok. So that’s a simplified background. Now what I really want to ask is about how the process of proper clinical study or testing was broken down. Dr. Zamboni has not done a thorough clinical study. Attempts are currently being made to organize and publish a professional study but it takes time, it takes planning, and it takes funding. There is a registry, but that’s a slightly different thing and serves a different purpose.
This lack of present clinical testing through proper authoritative channels hasn’t diminished the popularity of this new-found hope for people with Multiple Sclerosis. All the data so far, from literally thousands of MS-diagnosed people that have had the treatment, is still considered anecdotal. And maybe that’s as it should be.
However, what surprises me is that this lack of clinical testing hasn’t stopped doctors and medical practitioners from getting the medical procedure done for themselves or for loved ones!
I think I see a relation here, but I’d like to hear your thoughts on this too. Here is a list of points, admittedly biased, that I want to use.
1. Dr. Zamboni’s wife was diagnosed with MS. He has vocalized his reasons for studying MS and blood flow around the brain. He wanted to help his wife with her condition. And when he saw the initial results of the treatment on people, he wanted to give the treatment to more people and tell people about what was happening.
2. A British doctor living with MS was in the first groups treated under Dr. Zamboni.
3. A neurologist in San Diego has a son diagnosed with MS. Here is a great interview where he explains his views on the diagnosis and the new treatment. Not all neurologists share his views on this new treatment.
4. When the news story first broke out, a local family doctor cautioned one of her regular clients with MS to be patient. Wait until better information comes out. However, within a few months time, the same doctor rushed her own niece (newly diagnosed with MS) and her regular patient to get tested for blockages before a local clinic stopped offering the ultrasound service to people diagnosed with MS. (Note - this story is gossip, but yes I am including it on my list.)
5. A naturopathic doctor with MS underwent the Liberation Treatment just a few days after Shannon. They had a few physio sessions together after their time in the hospital.
In each of these particular cases, there is an emotional investment or empathic attachment or even just a plain old personal desire. Why aren’t these particular people waiting?
Actually living with a diagnosis as debilitating and frustrating as Multiple Sclerosis (in either themselves or in loved ones) seems to change the information, or at least change the processing of the information.
So, here are my questions:
What is it about emotional investments that causes otherwise objective, careful professionals to forgo their usual loyalties to scientific methods and proper procedure? (Ok, yea there is a lot of informed, critical thinking and personal evaluation going into this too, I realize…)
Why do some professionals (and neurologists) use phrases like “be patient”,”use caution” and ”might be a hoax” immediately for something that hasn’t yet been proven effective or ineffective yet (to their standards of testing)?
Since Multiple Sclerosis is a syndrome (symptoms that appear together with an unproven theory about the cause) and not a diagnosis of an understood disease, should the spirit of discovery not lead the medical field to embrace the opportunity to test a new idea?
I find this situation particularly intriguing because it seems to be one of the first situations where social-media spread the new idea so quickly that it could not be controlled by the usual, patient, western, authoritative institutions. And we have to address this because there will likely be similar breakthroughs and discoveries coming in the next decade or two. What are we prepared for?