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Since 2009, the (CCSVI) model of multiple sclerosis has drawn much attention, and the associated surgical 'venoplasty' interventions have often been advertised as a novel idea. In fact, it is a new incarnation of various vessel-based therapies attempted for multiple sclerosis in the past, dating back to the 1930s, when Tracy Jackson Putnam (1894-1975) attempted pharmacological anticoagulation. This was followed in the 1940s by Richard M. Brickner's (1896-1959) studies of vasodilatory drugs, which further inspired trials of sympathectomy and ganglionectomy. In the 1950s, Ilya Mark Scheinker (1902-1954) studied vasopressor therapy, while Roy Laver Swank (1909-2008) investigated the effects of a low saturated fat diet in his patients. This paper discusses the longer history of these therapeutic endeavours and the aetiological theories that inspired them.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur Neurol

Publication Date





48 - 58


Brain, History, 19th Century, History, 20th Century, History, 21st Century, Humans, Medical Illustration, Multiple Sclerosis, Spinal Cord