“Liberation Therapy”: Not Necessarily Liberating, Not Necessarily Therapy

Despite all the Facebook pages and websites that promote “Liberation therapy” as a treatment for MS, not all individuals who undergo balloon angioplasty of their neck veins report experiencing benefits. According to Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald, some individuals with MS are having surgery and finding that their symptoms remain unchanged even after spending thousands of dollars on the procedure.  Other patients report experiencing initial benefits that disappear within a year.  CBC has a video of man from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan who went to Bulgaria for the procedure, reported that he noticed improvements in his health following angioplasty, but had to have the procedure done a second time just six months after the initial surgery.  The reports raise additional questions about the effectiveness, safety, and long-term effectiveness of balloon angioplasty as a treatment for MS.  Whether the procedure offers benefits beyond the placebo response is as yet unknown.  One Australian physician quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald article states, “The problem is, there’s up to a 30 per cent improvement with any treatment you give.  I have patients who sting themselves 30 times a day with bees and they tell me that makes a great improvement.  I have patients who take low dose naltrexone who tell me it makes a great deal of difference.  I have patients who spend $50 a week on probiotic yoghurt who tell me it makes a great deal of difference.” Despite the lack of evidence in support of balloon angioplasty as a treatment for MS, clinics around the world offer the procedure and the intervention is now widely promoted by medical tourism companies.

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