Ischemic kidney diseases are serious health issues that lead to irreversible loss of kidney function and are commonly associated with high rates of mortality and morbidity. Many of the conditions captured under the term ischemic kidney disease occur as a result of decreased glomerular filtration rate (GFR) caused by vasoconstriction or loss of autoregulation. Ischemic kidney disease, or ischemic renal disease, is a contributing factor anywhere between 6% – 27% of end-stage kidney disease and is most common among patients 50 years old or older.
The progression of these types of kidney diseases is often multifaceted and involves complex hormonal-immunological cellular interactions. Since ischemic kidney disease often involves damage that occurs to many different types of cells, the conditions have often been demonstrated to be resistant to conventional therapy.
Considering mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) provide renal protection, their anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties are of interest in an effort to better understand how they can be therapeutically used to treat and prevent acute kidney ischemia (AKI).
In this review, Zhu et al. examine recent progress in the use of MSC to prevent kidney diseases, with a specific focus on chronic ischemic kidney disease (CIKD).
When used to treat CIKD, MSCs have been found to achieve renal cellular repair in a number of different ways. Initially, and upon infusion, MSCs home to the injury site and release homing receptors, growth factors, and anti-inflammatory cytokines to the injury site. They also release similar microparticles that promote kidney repair through internalization in other cells, allowing for reduced intrarenal inflammation and the promotion of vascular regeneration.
Examining the results of clinical trials exploring the use of MSC to treat CIKD, and considering patients with diabetes mellitus often develop chronic kidney issues, including diabetic nephropathy (DN), the authors believe the beneficial application of the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immunomodulating features of MSC could help in the treatment of DN.
While Zhu et al. highlights the potential of MSCs in the treatment of CIKD in this review, they also identify potential limitations, including the potential for MSCs to form teratoma or other tumors (to date, no direct evidence of kidney tumor formation has been reported) and exactly how long the effects of MSC on kidney protection will last. As a way to address both potential limitations, the authors recommend longer follow-up times to ensure all potential detrimental effects of MSC use in humans are known and accounted for.
The review concludes that while further studies are needed to discern the chief elements of their actions and to define the optimal type (tissue source, preconditioning), dose, and delivery route, MSCs demonstrate remarkable potential for future treatment of ischemic kidney disease.
Exercise and a healthy diet are two of the most potent treatments for Parkinson’s disease. Many people who live with Parkinson’s find that positive lifestyle changes slow the condition’s progression and give them better control over their symptoms.
Exercise and Parkinson’s Disease
Exercise is universally beneficial and can improve anyone’s overall health. However, those with Parkinson’s might discover these specific benefits:
Preventing or slowing the disease’s progression
Improving brain health
Reducing symptoms like loss of balance or constipation
Nobody should have to slog through a workout they hate. Fortunately, all forms of exercise can benefit those with Parkinson’s. The best physical activities are the ones you enjoy — as long as your healthcare provider approves.
Diet and Parkinson’s Disease
Patients can manage some symptoms of Parkinson’s through targeted nutrition. In general, consuming a plant-based diet that includes whole foods offers significant benefits in reducing some of the challenges of the disease.
Although there isn’t a specific diet for Parkinson’s disease, patients should prioritize eating whole grains, fruits and vegetables, protein, and healthy fats to boost their overall health.
Water and Fiber for Constipation
Parkinson’s can lead to digestive concerns, including constipation. However, drinking six to eight glasses of water daily and eating high-fiber foods can support regular digestion.
Limit Sugar and Caffeine for Better Sleep
Researchers estimate that two-thirds of Parkinson’s patients struggle to get adequate sleep. Limiting your intake of sugar, caffeine, and alcohol can promote better sleep quality.
Eat Nuts and Berries for Brain Health
Healthy fats found in nuts and beneficial antioxidants from berries can promote brain health and provide anti-inflammatory benefits. Other foods to fortify your brain include fish like salmon and green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale.
More Water for Medication Absorption
Many Parkinson’s medications can cause dehydration. Over time, dehydration can exacerbate symptoms like confusion, kidney problems, and balance issues. Get into the habit of drinking a full glass of water with your medications so that your body breaks them down more efficiently.
Changing your diet and exercise routine can be difficult. Ask your physician for advice, and start with small changes instead of a complete overhaul of your habits for lasting results.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a progressive disease of the central nervous system (CNS) that occurs as a result of the body’s immune system attacking the protective sheath, or myelin, responsible for covering nerve fibers. Characterized by progressive nerve deterioration and damage of the nerve fibers, MS is currently estimated to affect nearly 600,000 adults in the United States.
While a specific cause of MS has not yet been determined, recent findings have suggested interactions between environmental and genetic factors as contributors to the susceptibility to MS.
Current pharmaceutical treatments for MS have demonstrated the ability to slow symptoms associated with MS but have not demonstrated the ability to treat or prevent the disease itself.
Recent studies have identified mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) as having anti-inflammatory properties that could potentially be an effective therapy option for preventing or managing overactivity and self-antigen attacks by T cells and macrophages that are commonly associated with MS.
As part of this review, Alanazi et al. examined the most relevant clinical trials that utilized MSCs from a variety of sources as part of their investigation into the effectiveness of these stem cells as a potential therapy for MS.
MSCs are able to be easily isolated from multiple sources of the human body, including bone marrow, adipose tissue, umbilical cord, and the placenta. These stem cells have also demonstrated the ability to be expanded in culture media and to be safely utilized as autologous treatment without the risk of rejection.
Regardless of their source, MSCs, in general, have been demonstrated to be highly proliferative, capable of self-renewal, and have immunomodulatory and neurodegenerative effects. In addition, MSCs demonstrate the ability to differentiate and secrete anti-inflammatory factors that allow them to control the progress of autoimmune diseases, including MS.
After examining numerous clinical trials utilizing MSCs from a range of sources, the authors conclude that MSCs – regardless of their source – will all work on inhibiting CD4+ and CD8+ T cell activation, T regulatory cells (Tregs), and macrophage switch into the auto-immune phenotype.
While there are many good sources of MSCs, Alanazi et al. also conclude that previously conducted clinical trials demonstrate umbilical cord MSCs (UCMSCs) to be the best option for the management of Multiple Sclerosis for several reasons. These reasons include faster self-renewal than other MSCs, the ability to differentiate into three germ layers, and the observed ability to accumulate in damaged tissue or inflamed areas.
Additionally, and besides being one of the few MSC sources without ethical concerns, UCMSCs offer benefits from a practical standpoint The separation of MSCs from the umbilical cord is easy and painless, the number of cells collected per unit is high, UCMSC transfusion is not expensive, and UCMSCs have been shown to be very safe to use in this application.
Considering the information presented in this review, Alanazi et al. recommend the clinical use of UCMSCs for regenerative medicine and immunotherapy.
The fatigue, mobility and balance issues, and muscle spasms that commonly occur with multiple sclerosis (MS) can make exercising seem impossible. However, staying active is critical to managing MS symptoms, avoiding injuries, and maintaining independence.
Choosing the Right Exercises for You
Even patients with very advanced cases of MS can find a form of exercise that reduces fatigue and inflammation and improves strength and balance.
The most beneficial exercises for those with MS center on four primary focuses: aerobics, strength, flexibility, and balance.
Aerobic Exercises for MS
Aerobic exercise can improve cardiovascular health, fatigue, and mood. Low-impact aerobic exercises include walking, biking, swimming, and using an elliptical machine.
In addition, patients with muscle spasticity in their legs may benefit from using a stationary bike where they can clip in, allowing them to keep their feet on the pedals without extra effort.
Strength Exercises for MS
Resistance training, bodyweight workouts, and progressive strength training using dumbbells or barbells can increase stamina, build muscles, and improve bone density.
Depending on symptoms and mobility, bodyweight workouts, such as pushups or squats, can strengthen muscles without worrying about dropping weights or holding onto resistance bands.
Progressive strength exercises allow you to gradually increase your resistance or weights to build muscle mass and improve physical function. For example, bicep curls, deadlifts, shoulder presses, and rows build upper body strength and allow for progressive muscle building.
Flexibility Exercises for MS
Daily stretching, either from a yoga class or just a few minutes of working on touching toes and moving the spine, can increase the range of motion and decrease muscle spasticity.
Focus on spastic muscles, and aim to hold your stretches for 30 seconds to a minute to fully reap the muscle-lengthening benefits.
Balance Exercises for MS
Balance training focuses on posture, shifting body weight, and creating stability, so patients with MS can reduce their risk of falls and maintain independence. While yoga and Pilates are both beneficial for balance training, even standing on one leg while brushing your teeth or doing the dishes can significantly improve overall balance.
If balancing exercises are challenging, try them next to a wall or while holding onto a chair to maintain stability as your balance improves.
By including daily exercises that allow for long-term benefits, MS patients can regain some control over their condition and symptoms.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an incurable and debilitating disease characterized by chronic and progressive inflammation that leads to small airway obstruction and emphysema.
According to the World Health Organization, COPD is the third leading cause of death and is responsible for an estimated 3.2 million deaths each year. Between 80 and 90% of all COPD cases are caused by exposure to cigarette smoke, meaning it is also one of the most preventable diseases.
In addition to the increased risk of death, COPD significantly affects the overall quality of life and is often associated with difficulty breathing, chronic cough, lack of energy, lung infections, lung cancer, and heart disease.
A number of stem-cell-based approaches to address this issue are currently being explored. In this study, Ridzuan et al. uses an animal model to assess the potential anti-inflammatory effects of human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cell (hUC-MSC)-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) in cases of COPD.
EVs are small membrane vesicles of multivesicular bodies that are released by a variety of cells, including MSCs. Studies have demonstrated EVs isolated from MSCs mimic the therapeutic effects of MSCs.
Over the course of this study, and to mimic the symptoms observed with COPD, rats were exposed to cigarette smoke for up to 12 weeks, followed by transplantation of hUC-MSCs or application of hUC-MSC-derived EVs.
At the conclusion of this study, Ridzuan et al. found that both the transplantation of hUC-MSCs and the application of hUC-MSC-derived EVs reduced peribronchial and perivascular inflammation, slowed alveolar septal thickening, and decreased the number of goblet cells. Both applications also improved the loss of alveolar septa in the lung of COPD rats and regulated multiple pathways commonly associated with COPD.
Ridzuan et al. conclude that hUC-MSC-derived EVs effectively reduce COPD-induced inflammation and could have the potential to be a therapy for the management of COPD.
The authors also concluded that the selected treatment methods decreased the above-described symptoms at comparable rates. While there are still limited data demonstrating the regenerative and the anti-inflammatory effects of MSC-EVs to mitigate the inflammation in COPD, further study is needed to fully understand the anti-inflammatory effects of MSC-EVs and to better understand the specific mechanisms of action of all contents of MSC-EVs as they relate to the potential future treatment of COPD.
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