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Grits want MS treatment studied

Liberal Leader Stephan McNeil is renewing his call on the provincialgovernment to fund clinical trials for a controversial multiplesclerosis treatment.

Liberal Leader Stephan McNeil is renewing his call on the provincial government to fund clinical trials for a controversial multiple sclerosis treatment.

According to McNeil on Thursday, at least 125 Nova Scotians have gone outside the province for “liberation treatment” — a form of angioplasty developed by an Italian physician which could alleviate the symptoms of those suffering from MS.

Because the federal and provincial governments have not studied the procedure, however, there is only anecdotal evidence to liberation treatment’s efficacy.

Health Minister Maureen MacDonald says the province is waiting for a national strategy on “liberation treatment” — a strategy she says will be discussed at a meeting of health ministers in St. John’s next week.

But she said the treatment is unproven, and potentially risky.

“The idea that this is a risk-free treatment is not something the scientific community concurs with,” she said.

“(The treatment opens) up veins, not arteries, and veins are very vulnerable in any form of treatment.”

It was worth the risk for Yvonne Anderson. Diagnosed with MS two years ago, Anderson has lived with the symptoms of the disease since 2000. Nine weeks ago, she went to New York to have liberation treatment.

“For the first time in 10 years ... I’m able to genuinely smile, stay awake for more than three or four hours at a time, and look forward to the rest of my life,” she said at the Liberals caucus office on Thursday.

Her message was simple.

“Please help us get our lives back.”

 
 
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