While multiple sclerosis has long been thought to be an immune disorder, Italian researcher Paolo Zamboni has posited that it may be something else entirely. Zamboni thinks that the disease may be caused by inflammation created when blood cannot exit the brain because of clogged veins. He calls this chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency, or CCSVI. His proposed solution is something he calls the "liberation procedure," which involves inserting a small balloon into the clogged vein to clear it.
The procedure has helped some, but not Marc Stecker, a blogger with MS who writes extensively about the disease and was interviewed by NPR. He tried it to little positive effect, but says that he may have tried the procedure too early in the research cycle. Some doctors are skeptical and believe the procedure is unnecessarily dangerous. Others think that the clogged veins may be a symptom of the disease rather than its cause. Meanwhile, Zamboni continues his work—with the hopes of MS sufferers riding on the outcome.
(Read more multiple sclerosis stories.)