Oligodendrocytes are key neural cells responsible for producing myelin sheaths that wrap around neuronal axons in the central nervous system. Considering that thymosin β4’s (Tβ4) ability to promote neurological recovery in a range of neurological diseases has been well established, Chopp & Zhang (2015) propose oligodendrogenesis as the common link by which Tβ4 supports and promotes recovery after neural injury and neurodegenerative disease.
Citing Tβ4’s propensity to alter cellular expression and target multiple molecular pathways involved in neurovascular remodeling and oligodendrogenesis, it warrants further study into Tβ4 as a restorative/regenerative therapy for neurological injury and neurodegenerative diseases.
Traditional treatment of neurological diseases, including stroke, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and multiple sclerosis have typically focused on the reduction of lesions and produced no effective or beneficial long-term therapeutic outcomes. As a result, new proposals suggest renewed focus on therapeutic efforts designed to facilitate the restorative process present after injury and with specific focus on the enhancement of neurovascular recovery resulting in improved neurological recovery.
Among the many benefits of using Tβ4 in the restorative/regenerative therapeutic process is that, unlike neuroprotection treatments that must be introduced to damaged tissue before irreversible damage occurs, this treatment can be administered several days – even weeks – after injury and still stimulate the naturally-occurring regenerative process that has been demonstrated to be beneficial in treating several conditions, including stroke and TBI.
Specifically, Tβ4 promotes the remodeling and restoration of the CNS/PNS post-injury and has been shown to improve neurological recovery by allowing for improved neurovascular plasticity, neurite outgrowth, myelination of axons, as well as increasing the production and release of trophic factors to further support the remodeling of the nervous system.
Multiple animal models have demonstrated that Tβ4 facilitates the restorative neurological process by simulating oligodendrocytes (OLGs) and specifically OLG progenitor cells (OPCs) in the CNS. It appears that Tβ4 expedited multiple pathways of neurological recovery by stimulating tiny non-coding RNAs known as microRNAs to promote the generation, translation, and differential of OPCs and OLGs.
While these findings are promising, what remains yet unknown is specifically how Tβ4 affects, or perhaps more appropriately, influences, microRNAs to communicate specific neurological restorative and regenerative instructions among various cells. The predominant theory emerging from relevant research is that this process of intercellular communication is created and moderated by tiny lipid particles known as exosomes.
Considering the safety of Tβ4 for use in human trials and the potential for Tβ4 to treat neurological injury and degeneration, future clinical trials focusing on Tβ4’s specific influence on exosomes, and as a therapeutic restorative for neurological treatment and regeneration, is thought to hold promising clinical translation for future treatments of neurological disease and injury.
Source: (2015, January 22). Thymosin β4 as a restorative/regenerative therapy for …. Retrieved January 5, 2021, from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1517/14712598.2015.1005596
 (2015, October 15). Neuroinflammatory modulators of oligodendrogenesis. Retrieved January 2, 2021, from https://nnjournal.net/article/view/1129
Lactoferrin is a protein found naturally in cow and human milk. Colostrum, the first milk that develops after a baby is born, is especially rich in the protein. It’s also found within fluids in the nose, respiratory tract, eyes, intestines, and elsewhere.
What Is the Role of Lactoferrin?
This protein binds with iron and cooperates with other proteins to metabolize iron and form energy, store and transport oxygen, and support detoxification. It’s also involved with the production of blood cells and the body’s ability to fight off infection. Research suggests exercising could increase lactoferrin. In some cases, supplementation could have several benefits.
Specifically, lactoferrin has been shown to:
- Improve iron absorption in women, including athletes and pregnant women, as well as in infants
- Reduce body fat in individuals with obesity
- Control inflammation and oxidative stress in patients with hepatitis C
Additionally, lactoferrin appears to help fight off infections caused by viruses, bacteria, and fungi. It seems to slow the growth of bacteria. With these health-promoting properties, lactoferrin can help:
- Treat diarrhea
- Reduce swelling of the liver
- Treat anemia
- Help control cold symptoms
- Help treat blood infections
Other potential applications for lactoferrin may include wound healing, allergy treatment, immune system health, and optimal health of key organs, including the lungs.
In some cases, elevated levels of lactoferrin could be indicative of underlying disease. For instance, fecal samples with high levels of lactoferrin can indicate the presence of irritable bowel syndrome. When found in blood or tears, it could indicate other types of disease.
If you’re considering lactoferrin supplements to support your wellness goals, consider speaking with a physician for proper dosing recommendations.
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Spinal cord injury (SCI) continues to be a significant cause of disability. In fact, it is estimated that annual SCIs account for nearly 18,000 injuries in the United States and between 250,000 and 500,000 injuries worldwide. Additionally, an estimated 294,000 people in the United States are currently living with some form of SCI, with males accounting for nearly 80% of all SCI injuries.
Despite a large number of SCIs occurring each year, therapeutic treatment options remain limited and primarily ineffective. Recently, improvements in the understanding of the promising role stem cells play in the healing process have led to significant developments in improving healing and restoring function lost as a result of Spinal Cord Injuries; specifically, the therapeutic treatment of SCIs with mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in animal models has demonstrated promising results.
Building off of the success observed in previous studies, Honmou Et al.’s recent study (2021) sought to further explore the safety and feasibility of intravenous infusion of MSCs is SCI patients; the study also explored the patients’ functional status after receiving IV infusion of MSC.
Specifically, Honmou Et al.’s phase 2 study delivered a single infusion of autologous MSCs cultured in auto-serum, to 13 SCI patients. After infusion, the study assessed the feasibility and safety of this procedure over a six-month period by using the American Spinal Injury Association Impairment Scale (ASIA) and International Standards for Neurological Function Classification of Spinal Cord (ISCSCI-92). The researchers also used the Spinal Cord Independence Measure (SCIM-III) as a way to assess the ability of daily living after receiving MSCs infusion.
Although this was a small, early, unblinded, and uncontrolled study, the researchers point out that the intravenous infusion of autologous bone marrow-derived MSCs, expanded in auto-serum, into SCI patients appeared to be safe and feasible with none of the patients exhibiting abnormal cell growth or neurological deterioration. Additionally, and similar to what’s been observed in prior studies conducted on animal models, the findings appear to support the rapid improvement of neurological function within a few days after IV infusion. The researchers also pointed out this study had several limitations, including potential observer bias and potential improvements resulting from surgical interventions.
The researchers point out that although the specific mechanism for this observed improvement in neurological status is not clear, several studies suggest that secreted neurotrophic factors from MCSs might be associated with the rapid improvements. Additional studies have also demonstrated that IV infusion of MSCs in patients with SCIs might also encourage changes in gene expression that encourage functional improvements, an observation that was consistent with the findings of this study.
In conclusion, the authors reiterate that the observed safety, feasibility, and initial indications of functional improvement after MSC infusion support the importance of additional, larger future studies designed to examine potential efficiencies in patients with SCI. Source: (2021, February 18). Intravenous Infusion of Auto Serum-expanded … – ScienceDirect.com. Retrieved March 23, 2021, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0303846721000925#!
 “Spinal cord injury – WHO | World Health Organization.” 19 Nov. 2013, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/spinal-cord-injury.
 “(SCI) Facts and Figures at a Glance – National Spinal Cord Injury ….” https://www.nscisc.uab.edu/PublicDocuments/fact_figures_docs/Facts%202015.pdf.
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes nutrient-rich eating from sources such as vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains, fruits, and lean protein. The dietary approach has been praised for its health benefits in recent years, including improved heart health. Now, it’s also been hailed as a beneficial diet for people with type 2 diabetes, thanks to its ability to improve several key biomarkers, such as inflammation, insulin resistance, body mass index (BMI), and HDL cholesterol.
How the Mediterranean Diet Helps with Type 2 Diabetes
The Mediterranean diet is a flavorful eating pattern based on the dietary habits of people in countries near the Mediterranean Sea. It offers filling meal options that prioritize the nutrients bodies need to perform their best, while also limiting additives such as refined carbohydrates, red meat, and added sugars.
According to research published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, participants of the Mediterranean diet had the best A1C scores, which measure blood sugar over a three-month period. They also lost more weight and had the best cardiovascular health, including improved cholesterol levels, compared to peers who participated in high-protein, high-fiber, vegetarian, vegan, or low-carbohydrate diets.
While this heart-healthy diet can’t reverse diabetes, it can help reduce the risk of complications related to the disease. By reducing cholesterol, it protects the heart, thereby limiting the risk for serious issues such as heart attack and stroke. The diet also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which can reduce the risk of cardiovascular events by as much as 30%.
Which Foods Can You Eat on the Mediterranean Diet?
Fortunately, the Mediterranean diet isn’t restrictive and is quite simple. The idea is to incorporate as many fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet as possible and prioritize lean meat or plant-based protein, such as skinless chicken, fish, and legumes. Here are a few examples of which foods are commonly eaten in the diet:
- Whole Grains: Choose whole-grain bread and pasta products, as well as quinoa, brown rice, barley, and farro.
- Nuts, Seeds, & Beans: Heart-healthy nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashews, and pistachios are excellent choices. You can also have sunflower and sesame seeds, beans such as kidney, white, black, and cannellini beans, chickpeas, and lentils.
- Vegetables: Eat a variety of vegetables such as bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, leafy greens, broccoli, cabbage, artichokes, carrots, beets, fennel, onions, and zucchinis, among others.
- Fruits: While fruits do naturally contain sugars, they are also nutrient-rich and can be enjoyed in moderation. Consider snacking on melons, figs, dates, grapes, citrus fruits, berries, and apples.
- Healthy Fats: Olive oil is a great source of healthy fats, and can be used for cooking or salads.
- Fresh Fish & Seafood: Salmon, shrimp, halibut, mackerel, herring, trout, and other seafood rich in healthy fats are among the best protein sources.
- Dairy & Poultry: Reduced-fat cheese, low-fat yogurt and milk, eggs, and lean poultry are all welcome choices on the Mediterranean diet.
While switching to an entirely new eating style can be overwhelming, you might consider taking small steps to work towards a full Mediterranean dietary lifestyle. For instance, you might start by reducing or eliminating processed foods, then aim to incorporate vegetables with most of your meals. Making healthy dietary choices can deliver numerous wellness benefits and is a worthwhile endeavor, even if it takes some time to adapt.
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Osteoarthritis (OA), the most common form of arthritis, affects over 32 million people in the U.S. each year. Characterized by a progressive degeneration of cartilage resulting in pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints, and most frequently occurring in the hands, hips, and knees, OA has no pharmacological, biological, or surgical treatment to prevent progression of the condition. The authors of this case report focus specifically on potential treatment options for OA of the knee.
With the emergence of stem cell-based therapies for a multitude of health conditions, stem cells, and specifically mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), have demonstrated immunosuppressive activities that could prove beneficial in supporting the regeneration of cartilage tissue in and around joints in the body.
Research has demonstrated that MSCs are effective in differentiating into essential connective tissues like fat, cartilage, and bone; MSCs have also demonstrated immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory effects, the ability to self-renew, and plasticity, making MSCs a potentially powerful treatment of OA in the knee (and other parts of the body).
This specific case study details cartilage regeneration in the knee of a 47-year-old woman diagnosed with OA when treated with bone marrow-derived MSC cells. For the course of this treatment, autologous MSCs were collected from bone marrow harvested from the iliac crest. After processing and preparing the MSCs, the sample was confirmed to be free of microbial contamination and was prepared and transplanted into the patient’s knee joint.
Periodic follow-ups with the patient revealed no local or systemic adverse events associated with the MSC transplant procedure. The authors of this case report found that the patient’s functional status of her knee, the number of stairs she could climb, reported pain on a visual analog scale, and walking distance all improved in the two months following the MSC transplant procedure.
Additionally, twelve months after the transplant, the patient demonstrated a positive change in WOMAC (3 to 2), a continued increase in the number of stairs climbed (5 increasing to 50), and visual analog (80 mm to 11 mm). The patient also demonstrated improved gelling (or the amount of time it takes for synovial fluid to thicken as a result of rest) in the knee from 8 minutes to 30 minutes; knee flexion also increased 20° (100° to 120°). Periodic MRIs taken after the transplant procedure demonstrated an extension of the repaired tissue over the subchondral bone.
Mehrabani, et al. conclude that MSC transplantation for treating OA in the knee appears to be a simple, safe, effective, and reliable treatment option that has demonstrated pain relief, improved quality of life, and significantly improved quality of cartilage without hospitalization, pharmaceuticals, or surgery.
Source: (n.d.). The Healing Effect of Bone Marrow-Derived Stem Cells … – NCBI – NIH.; from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5003953/