Several million people across the globe are living with the condition known as MS or multiple sclerosis. The majority of them were diagnosed with this condition between 20-40 years of age.
Due to the complexity of the condition, diagnosing MS requires a multi-stage testing process. Once a positive diagnosis has been obtained, patients have several treatment options available to them, which we’ll outline below.
The Diagnosis Process
To diagnose multiple sclerosis, doctors rely on a variety of tests that are designed to rule out other medical conditions. This is necessary because there are no specific diagnostic procedures for detecting MS. The diagnosis process may include:
Blood Tests:During initial testing, blood samples are used to rule out common conditions that present similar symptoms to MS. These blood tests also check for unique biomarkers that are associated with MS.
Spinal Tap:Depending on the results of the blood tests, the physician may schedule a spinal tap next. This test involves puncturing the lumbar spine in order to remove a small amount of cerebrospinal fluid. The fluid is then subjected to laboratory analysis and checked for abnormal antibodies linked to MS.
MRI:An MRI or magnetic resonance imaging test is used to identify lesions on the spinal cord and brain. These lesions are a common sign of MS. Oftentimes, patients receive an IV injection of a “contrast material.” This substance helps to highlight legions during the MRI scan.
Evoked Potential Tests:An evoked potential test documents electrical signals that are created by your nervous system. It can use electrical stimuli or verbal stimuli in order to prompt your nervous system to create impulses. The goal of this test is to determine how fast information is traveling down nerve pathways.
MS Treatment Options
While MS has no cure, there are several viable treatment options available. These treatments can enhance the quality of life of MS sufferers and mitigate their symptoms. MS treatments include:
Corticosteroids:Corticosteroids are used to reduce nerve inflammation. They can be administered orally or through an IV. However, corticosteroids do present a risk for several side effects, such as insomnia and increased blood sugar.
Plasma Exchange:Plasma is the liquid component of blood. During this treatment, the plasma is removed and separated from the patient’s blood cells. The cells are combined with albumin (protein solution) and put back into the patient’s body.
Stem Cell Therapy:Stem cell therapy is an alternative treatment option for patients with MS. It is being used to potentially help patients suffering from symptoms of neurodegenerative conditions. Stem cells stimulate the body’s natural healing capabilities and have the potential to help manage MS symptoms. If you or a loved one suffers from MS, stem cell therapy may be an option to explore as an alternative treatment.
Over the last decade, the field of stem cell therapy has grown in research and awareness. This growth is thanks to mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs,) the type of cells most commonly explored for their powerful reparative properties. Medical professionals can harvest and concentrate these MSCs from multiple sources, making them more accessible. As a result, stem cells can be used as a form of regenerative medicine. This intervention offers potential benefits for patients suffering from neurodegenerative, orthopedic, and autoimmune conditions. This article will outline some basic information about MSCs and how Mesenchymal stem cells repair.
Basic Biology of MSCs
Stem cells are a unique type of cell. Unlike other cells, MSCs can divide into daughter cells and then transform into specialized cells such as those found in bone, brain matter, and soft tissue. Stem cells can be divided into two broad categories, embryonic and adult stem cells.
Adult stem cells are the primary type used in modern medical interventions. When adult stem cells were initially discovered, scientists believed they were only present in the bone marrow.
While bone marrow aspirate can be an ideal source of stem cells, they are also present in adipose tissue, dental pulp, the kidneys, amniotic fluid, and the amniotic membrane. However, they are primarily harvested from adipose tissue, bone marrow, or umbilical cords.
MSCs’ Reparative Properties
Stem cells are naturally present in the human body. However, the concentration of these valuable cells is reduced as people age. As a result, older individuals typically have longer recovery times from injuries and are more prone to degenerative conditions.
Mesenchymal stem cells allow medical professionals to circumvent this natural degradation. They can harvest stem cells, concentrate them, and then administer them to a specific location, such as the site of an injury. Once administered, the stem cells will seek out inflammation and repair damaged tissue, thereby accelerating the natural healing process.
The Harvesting Process
Before they can be administered, stem cells must be harvested. Many patients opt for autologous stem cell therapy. This treatment involves the concentration of stem cells derived from the patient’s existing body tissues.
When preparing to harvest stem cells, the provider usually administers a local anesthetic. The provider will then harvest either bone marrow aspirate or adipose (fat) tissue depending on the preference and treatment plan. The stem cells are processed, concentrated, and administered back to the patient to targeted areas.
Stem cells have the potential to supplement the patient’s healing capabilities for six months to a year. This intervention can be utilized to treat many different conditions and may offer patients an alternative to traditional options or in conjunction with. If you would like to learn more about how Mesenchymal Stem Cells repair, contact us today!
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a debilitating neurodegenerative disorder that currently affects nearly 6 million people worldwide and is currently the second most common neurological condition, behind only Alzheimer’s.
Although the exact cause of PD remains unclear, the condition is characterized by the gradual loss of nerve cells in the brain responsible for producing the neurotransmitter dopamine. While no cure for PD currently exists, current therapeutic treatment approaches focus on improving quality of life but are not able to prevent or slow the progression of the disease.
Recent research has demonstrated positive effects of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) transplantation that has been associated with secromes; noted beneficial effects include providing a self-regulated regenerative response that limits the area of lesions. Additionally, these MSC-derived secretomes compose soluble factors and encapsulated extravesicles (EV). These EVs have been found to have a significant impact on physiological processes, including cell-to-cell communication.
Considering MSCs are readily available and easily isolated from a number of sources, including adipose tissue, umbilical cord Wharton’s Jelly, bone marrow, and dental pulp, these stem cells are thought to hold potential as a therapeutic approach to managing PD.
As part of this review, d’Angelo et al. highlight a number of studies demonstrating the potential of MSCs in improving a number of conditions and symptoms consistent with those demonstrated in PD. In these studies, animal models demonstrate improved motor behaviors and correction of functional impairment after transplantation of MSCs.
The authors point out that further research exploring cell-free, therapeutic, personalized approaches for the different neurodegenerative diseases, including PD, is needed.
d’Angelo et al. also note that, while MSC-derived secretomes have shown positive effects on neuronal cell survival, differentiation, and proliferation, further studies are needed to fully understand all of the bioactive molecules.
Since MSC-derived secretomes are able to stimulate neurotrophic and neuronal survival pathways and appear to counteract neuronal death, they could potentially be a beneficial tool in future management and prevention efforts for a number of neurodegenerative conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and stroke.
Whether you’re suffering from a neurodegenerative condition like ALS or are recovering from a sports or athletic injury, regenerative medicine, also known as stem cell therapy, offers a host of potential benefits for treating your condition. However, one of the most common questions we hear is when patients should seek to start stem cell therapy treatments. Of course, there’s no single, simple answer, since each patient’s case is unique. However, in general, results may be most optimal soon after newly diagnosed conditions. This does not mean results may not be beneficial if the condition or injury has been endured for a longer period.
Is There a Time Consideration When to Have?
Stem cell treatments have a greater potential to help provide relief if the injury is relatively minor or if the condition is a newer diagnosis. For many conditions, that means seeking treatment early in the progression stage. If it is later, more subsequent therapies may be a potential need to help manage symptoms or the condition further.
Still, no matter how long you’ve been dealing with your condition, stem cells hold a potential alternative option to provide a management tool for some degree of improvement or stabilization. When it comes to stem cell therapy, it helps to think less in terms of shortening the problem and more in terms of how there is potential to help reduce the severity.
Treating Orthopedic Conditions
One of the most common reasons patients seek stem cell therapy is to help recover from a musculoskeletal injury. These injuries often cause pain in joints like the knee and the hip. By introducing stem cells into the affected area, it has the ability to stimulate regenerative and healing properties, which can help to lessen the severity of the injury.
When dealing with newly diagnosed conditions, it is important to allow time for the treatment to have its course of healing potential on the injury and body. It is important to also follow post-management care for the most optimal outcomes.
Considerations for Post-Treatment
Depending on your condition, you may need to avoid strenuous exercise or overuse of a joint or muscle for a period of time. However, many times you can simply return to everyday life, as long as you take care not to aggravate the area.
It’s a good idea to block out a day for your treatment and plan for a short recovery period if an active lifestyle is a normal part of your day-to-day. You may experience some mild soreness, but in many cases, you will be able to resume your everyday life with careful healing instructions. If you would like to schedule a consultation contact a care coordinator today!
With nearly 30 million people in the US affected by osteoarthritis (OA), the condition continues to be among the leading causes of chronic pain and disability. Considering that advances in medical technology have increased overall life expectancy, the number of people living longer and dealing with the effects of OA is expected to increase for the foreseeable future.
Although modern medicine has improved the way most diseases and chronic conditions are diagnosed and treated, OA treatment has not benefited from these advances. As a result, treatment and prevention of OA continue to focus primarily on controlling and minimizing symptoms associated with the condition, not treating or preventing the condition itself. Unfortunately, for many, when symptoms of OA progress to a point where the pain is no longer able to be managed, their options look to surgical replacement of the affected joint.
While there are many contributing factors related to the onset and progression of OA, including obesity, history of trauma, genetics, and heritable and acquired disorders, there also appears to be an association between the onset of OA and a depleted local population of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs).
Considering the apparent relationship between OA and MSCs, Freitag et al. reviewed the reparative pathways, safety, and efficacy of MSC therapy in the treatment of osteoarthritis.
With their ease of harvest and ability to expand into chondrocytes, MSCs have continued to gain interest when exploring various stem cell therapies for the active management of pain and symptoms associated with OA.
Freitag et al. found that preclinical and clinical results of studies of cartilage repair techniques that utilize MSCs, including MSC scaffold transplantation techniques, MSC injectable techniques, MSC as a vehicle for platelet-rich plasma (PRP), and hyaluronic acid (HA) as an active carrier of MSCs, have all shown favorable results in supporting the benefits of MSC for the improvement of function and regeneration of new tissue in those afflicted with OA.
With over 400 active trials currently examining the efficacy of MSCs in the treatment of a variety of conditions, including OA, the safety of utilizing MSC therapy continues to draw interest from the medical community.
Although some early studies appeared to raise the question of abnormal cell growth, and ultimately the safety, associated with MSC therapy, the authors’ systematic review of clinical trials found that, while caution needs to be undertaken when culturing MSCs, the evidence demonstrates MSCs are generally safe for therapeutic use for the treatment of OA.
Freitag et al. conclude that the rapid progression of OA and related conditions demonstrate the need for therapies that repair and prevent these diseases, not just manage pain and related symptoms. As such, the authors feel MSC therapy offers a safe and viable option for the eventual treatment and prevention of OA and calls for further randomized controlled trials to evaluate the most effective applications of MSCs for managing osteoarthritis.
Joint arthritis is a very common condition that causes pain. According to some research, nearly half of adults over 65 suffer from arthritis of the joints. Aging causes wear and tear to the cartilage that protects the joints. While there is no way to fully prevent this wear and tear, innovative technologies are available to manage joint arthritis pain.
Some patients have found potential alternative options to help manage pain and inflammation with regenerative medicine, also known as stem cell therapy. Below, we will discuss the potential benefits of stem cell treatments for joint arthritis pain.
Why Does Joint Arthritis Happen?
When the cartilage in a joint begins to break down, the associated bones may rub together. This can be incredibly painful. It can also lead to swelling, stiffness, and decreased range of motion for a patient.
There are several different types of joint arthritis. One of the most common types is osteoarthritis. This is also known as “degenerative” arthritis. Degenerative arthritis is often the result of using a particular joint for many years. It usually appears when patients are middle-aged and progresses as they get older. But younger people are susceptible to this condition, as well.
Joint pain can also result from a condition called Rheumatoid Arthritis. This is an autoimmune disease that can lead to inflammation and pain. Infection and gout can also account for ongoing joint pain.
Usually, arthritis will cause aching or throbbing around a single location. The following joints are some of the more common areas affected: hips, shoulders, wrists, knees, hands, and feet.
In some cases of joint arthritis, the pain can be spread throughout the body along with pain concentrated around damaged joints.
No matter what the underlying cause of their joint pain is, many patients are exploring stem cell therapy to help manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
Stem Cell Therapies for Joint Pain
Stem cells are a type of simple human cell. As such, they are present in the human body naturally. These simple cells act as an instructional system for repairing and healing certain bodily tissues. Stem cell treatments involve isolating and reintroducing these reparative cells into damaged areas of the body.
Our natural stem cells may not be enough to help with joint arthritis and for this reason, stem cell therapy provides a concentrated amount of mesenchymal stem cells to be administered systemically and to problematic areas.
Many patients have reported pain and inflammation relief as well as tissue repair outcomes through these innovative and minimally invasive stem cell therapies. If you would like to learn more contact us today!
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