After successfully clinically testing stem cell treatments on mice, the first organisation to be given permission for undertaking clinical tests of stem cell treatment for stroke was a UK based company in January 2009. This permission was granted by the UK Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency.
Stem cell therapy for stroke involves the following:
- Adult stem cells are first extracted from the patient’s bone marrow and are then purified.
- After purification, these are injected into the patient’s body through the antecubital vein, which is present near the elbow in the forearm.
- After injecting the stem cells into the patient’s body, these stem cells travel to the damaged parts of the brain.
- These stem cells then regenerate into new brain cells and help repair the damaged parts.
Hence, patients are able to revive their ambulatory and mental functions.
In countries such as the US and Germany, autologous adult stem cells are classified as drugs and hence require the approval of the government before these can be used for treatments.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Stem Cell Therapy
The benefits of stem cell treatment are:
- Stem cells are known to reduce the mortality and morbidity of diseases.
- Stem cell therapy can potentially reverse a disease.
- These are not toxic and no side effects synonymous with the conventional drug treatments can be associated with stem cells treatment.
- Embryonic stem cells can supply infinite number of cells.
Some of the disadvantages of stem cell therapy are:
- Difficulty in obtaining adult stem cells in large quantities.
- Adult stem cells have a finite life span, shorter than that of embryonic stem cells.
- There is some controversy on ethical grounds surrounding embryonic stem cells, though the controversies are almost nil for adult stem cells.
What is Stroke?
Stroke is excessive damage to parts of the brain caused by failure of circulation of blood to the brain. The two major types of stroke are:
- Ischemic stroke, caused by blockage of blood vessel, which supplies blood to the brain, due to clotting.
- Hemorrhagic stroke, caused by weakening or bursting of a blood vessel in the brain, thereby leading to leakage of blood in to the brain.
Stroke can result in paralysis, loss in sensation of pain, touch, or temperature, urinary incontinence, aphasia or problem in comprehending or using language, irritability, and other emotional disturbances. People are usually prone to another stroke within the first year of having stroke.
Causes of Stroke
The main causes of stroke are
- Alcohol, drug use and tobacco usage.
- Head injuries.
- Lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
- High cholesterol levels.
- History of stroke in the family.
Signs of Stroke
Though signs of stroke may vary from person to person, depending on the extent of damage to the brain and the part of the brain in which it occurs, some of the common signs of stroke are:
- Feeling dizzy and finding it difficult to walk.
- Feeling nauseated.
- Experiencing trouble in speaking or comprehending speech.
- Numbness in the face and limbs.
- Severe headache.
How to Avoid Stroke?
Stroke can be avoided by bringing about some lifestyle changes and keeping a check on medical conditions, such as diabetes and high cholesterol levels that increase the risk of stroke. Some of the things that help reduce chances of stroke are:
- Exercising moderately every day.
- Avoiding fatty foods and eating lots of vegetables, fruits, and high-fiber foods.
- Quitting smoking, as nicotine can narrow down the blood vessels, thereby obstructing blood circulation to the brain.
- Relaxing and leading a stress-free life. Yoga and meditation can help a lot in increasing wellness.
Post Stroke Rehabilitation
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, USA, nearly two-third of the patients survive stroke and require rehabilitation. Rehabilitation aims at reviving the skills lost due to brain damage.
Although a stroke rehabilitation program does not completely undo the effects of brain damage, yet the results of the therapies can be long lasting. The intent is to re-acquaint the patients with the skills that will help them become independent, since post-stroke, patients feel weakened and may also be paralyzed.
Rehabilitation begins with acute healthcare at the hospital or at the patient’s home through medical agencies, within a day or two after the stroke. For this, the patient’s condition should stabilize first.
A rehabilitation for stroke program involves:
- Recuperation under the watchful eyes of neurologists, psychiatrists, registered nurses, and also geriatricians for elderly patients.
- Physical therapy by physiotherapists for increasing endurance of the limbs, restoring ambulation in patients, and treating problems associated with lack of coordination of and sensation in the limbs. However, if patients cannot regain full strength in the limbs, physiotherapists also teach how to manage without using limbs to their full potential.
- Speech therapy by speech pathologists for treating aphasia and helping the patients in increasing their ability to comprehend language.
- Therapeutic recreational programs for improving the quality of life of patients and helping them getting back to the activities, their hobbies, or other recreational activities that they enjoyed before stroke.
Driver’s training may also be a part of rehabilitation of stroke patients. Besides doctors and hospital staff, the family and loved ones of the patient also have a very crucial role to play in the stroke recovery process.
Research on stem cells has come a long way since a Russian histologist, Alexander Maksimov, first discovered them almost a century ago. Stem cells can treat a multitude of diseases. Stem cell therapy for stroke patients can help them get back to their normal lives.
Medical Tourism Corporation facilitates Stem Cell Therapy for Stroke Rehabilitation in Mexico and India. Fill out the free estimate request form for a free quote & more information.