Health and Fitness

Can Stem Cell Treatments Help Stroke Victims?

Stroke occurs when an artery becomes blocked or a blood vessel bursts, disrupting blood flow to the brain. As a result, brain cells die off, often causing long-term complications and disability. Historically, little could be done to control the brain damage caused by stroke. Now, however, stem cell therapy is being studied and showing promising results for those who have suffered a stroke.

Stem Cell Therapy for Stroke Victims

Stem cell therapy has the potential of revascularization of damaged brain areas, such as those resulting from stroke. This non-invasive treatment can be injected intravenously or to targeted sites, depending on the patient’s specific circumstances. The cells have both immune-regulating and anti-inflammatory properties and are considered a safe treatment option.

With stroke, brain cells begin dying within minutes after the blood supply is disrupted. Traditionally, standard treatments, including tissue plasminogen activators (tPA) were administered to address the blood clot. Timing was critical, however; if not administered promptly, the drug could not prevent permanent disability.

Today, stem cells are being used to aid in recovery, thanks to their ability to seek out and repair damaged tissue. They can regenerate and give rise to any cell type, including neurons. And, they can also help mitigate some of the lasting effects of stroke.

In a study from Stanford University School of Medicine, patients who received bone marrow derived stem cells transplanted directly to the brain showed motor function improvements which lasted for years after receiving the therapy. They experienced an average increase of 11.4 points on the Fugi-Meyer Assessment, a test which measures impairment caused by stroke. The results are indicative of the benefits of stem cell therapy for stroke victims, even years after the event took place. Additional research from the University of California shows IV injection of stem cells is safe and well-tolerated in people who have suffered acute ischemic stroke.

For patients who are seeking an alternative option to restore function in addition to or instead of traditional treatments, stem cell therapy provides hope and potentially improve the quality of life after stroke.

This post was written by Becky Palmer, a medical professional at At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine. Regenerative medicine has the natural potential to help improve symptoms sometimes lost from the progression of many conditions.

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