Progressing slowly in the hallway Arcispedale Sant’Anna, the feet of ballasted orthopedic boots resound in the hallways.
He hands me both hands, unable to close but still able to transmit the heat of empathy.
Professor Paolo Zamboni, director of vascular diseases and professor of clinical methodology of the University of Ferrara, has a rare medical illness.
He has been stricken, “Experts do not know how, or do not know why,” with a disease not often encountered, probably from the immune system, which weakens the nerves and muscles.
It’s called MMN or technically multi-focal motor neuropathy.
“So far we have surveyed only a thousand cases between Europe and the United States. It is a mild form of ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.”
But it’s against another MS, the multiple (the acronym, MS), which Professor Zamboni has fought and won the hardest battle of his life.
Wanting at all costs to heal his wife Helen, who had been hit, he did the logical thing for a scientist: “I tried to understand.”
The end point was the discovery of CCSVI, an acronym that made him famous in the world, so much so that now:
- His surgery is booked until Easter
- The switchboard of the study was replaced by a recorded voice that invites you to recall better times
- The computer department of the hospital has accumulated 24,000 emails asking for medical examinations which he can not cope
- A Facebook group titled “Dr. Nobel Prize for Paolo Zamboni” has already gathered 7,957 supporters who would like to apply for the prize for medicine awarded by the Karolinska Institutet
- Marco Marozzi has devoted a fascinating book of 334 pages, “Brave Dreams? (Knopf), which tells precisely “the struggle of a Italian doctor battling multiple sclerosis.”