Is There a Diet That Can Slow the Progression of MS?

Is There a Diet That Can Slow the Progression of MS?

As one of the most common neurological conditions worldwide, multiple sclerosis plays a big part in over two million people’s daily lives. Since it is so prevalent, there is currently a lot of ongoing research into preventing and treating MS. Many people already diagnosed wonder whether there is a diet that can cure or slow the progression of MS. 

What Is MS?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease characterized by the degeneration of the myelin sheaths protecting nerve fibers in the brain. However, MS and its progression vary significantly from person to person and affect some people much more than others. 

Some people may experience a small, controlled lesion that does not affect cognitive or physical functions. In contrast, others may have multiple lesions across their brain or spine and experience significant cognitive and physical disabilities. 

Can the Right Diet Cure MS?

There is not a diet or treatment available that can cure MS. People who claim to know secret eating habits that will cure this chronic condition are promoting non-science-backed products. But luckily, making healthy dietary choices may help lessen your symptoms. 

The diet recommended for MS patients is the same that’s recommended for the average adult. A well-balanced diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and little saturated fat is ideal. For people with MS, healthy eating can help overall management of the condition, potentially slow the progression of the disease, and improve quality of life.  

What to Avoid

There tends to be a lot of confusion about what lifestyle habits people with MS should avoid. Things MS patients should avoid include the following:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking
  • Skipping meals
  • Eating lots of processed foods
  • Not exercising regularly

Some recommendations say to avoid dairy, and others say to avoid gluten at all costs if you have MS. Neither of these suggestions is significantly backed by scientific research. People with MS may be lactose intolerant or gluten intolerant. However, if you aren’t, there’s no reason to avoid these products as they have no impact on the progression of MS. One study showed a relation to Vitamin D deficiency and those with MS.

Other Ways You Can Manage Your MS

MS symptoms can become more manageable with the help of medications, lifestyle adjustments, and emerging experimental therapies. One such alternative treatment that may help manage MS symptoms is stem cell therapy. This approach has the ability, through the science of mesenchymal stem cells, to restore damaged myelin sheaths and prevent further progression.

 
Stem cell therapy has shown promising results in research and will continue to undergo extensive studies in the coming years. Patients may want to explore more to see if it is something that they may have a potential benefit from this alternative therapy. If you are interested in learning more contact a care coordinator today!

Could Stem Cell Therapy Be a Breakthrough Against MS?

Could Stem Cell Therapy Be a Breakthrough Against MS?

In a recent study, researchers discovered a breakthrough against MS, stem cell therapy might be able to help individuals who have multiple sclerosis (MS). The study was conducted by Italian researchers and included a group of 210 MS patients suffering from aggressive cases of the neurodegenerative condition.

The study spanned over two decades, during which time participants received multiple stem cell transplants. Roughly 140 participants did not experience further degeneration ten years after starting stem cell therapy. The majority of the patients involved in the study were diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS, the most common type.

Are These Study Results Conclusive?

While the results from this groundbreaking study are promising, they cannot be considered “conclusive.” For instance, many researchers are still unsure which MS patients are most likely to benefit from stem cell therapy. More research is necessary to determine stem cell therapy’s overall effectiveness and identify other relevant factors.

In addition, this study is not considered a clinical trial. This is because stem cell therapy was not tested against traditional multiple sclerosis medications. All participants received stem cell therapy from different medical centers throughout Italy.

A more stringent clinical trial will reveal additional details about the efficacy of stem cell therapy for MS treatments. Additional research will help medical professionals identify who is best suited for stem cell therapy and when they should undergo this intervention. This research aims to determine if stem cells will stimulate the patient’s natural immune system so that it can begin functioning normally again. This could result is a breakthrough against MS!

How Stem Cells May Be Able to Help MS Sufferers

Human MSCs (mesenchymal stem cells) are adult stem cells found in various body tissues. This includes the bone marrow, adipose tissue, and umbilical cord tissues. MSCs have the potential to help patients suffering from a wide array of medical conditions, including MS.

Since stem cells serve as the building blocks for the immune system, this intervention could potentially stimulate natural healing. By injecting the patient with MSCs derived from bone marrow aspirate or adipose tissue, clinicians may be able to reduce the severity of symptoms. Stem cell therapy might be able to slow the progression of the condition, but these benefits are still undergoing research.

Patients suffering from MS and searching for a breakthrough against MS and an alternative treatment option may want to consider stem cell therapy, as the potential benefits greatly outweigh any risks associated with the treatment. If you would like to learn more, contact us today to speak with a care coordinator.

What’s the Best Treatment for Degenerative Disc Disease?

What’s the Best Treatment for Degenerative Disc Disease?

One of the most common causes of lower back pain, degenerative disc disease is an umbrella term for the symptoms that result from general wear and tear on a spinal disc. In addition to back pain, it can also cause shooting pains in the extremities, weakness, and numbness. In this article, we will talk about the best treatment for Degenerative Disc Disease.

While the condition can be frustrating, there are many ways to manage its symptoms. In fact, most cases involve periodic flare-ups, but the pain typically doesn’t intensify over time. For this reason, many people can avoid surgery for degenerative disc disease. 

Instead of going directly to surgical interventions, the goals of treating the condition usually entail:

  • Relieving pain to the point that patients can participate in rehabilitation programs or perform exercises at home without discomfort.
  • Preventing added stress to the back using ergonomics and improved posture.
  • Managing discomfort so individuals can go about their normal routine uninterrupted.

There are many lifestyle modifications, self-care options, and clinical therapies that can be tried before resorting to more invasive procedures. Here are a few common approaches:

  • Pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain medications such as NSAIDs and acetaminophen may help control pain levels during particularly intense flare-ups.
  • Chiropractic care: Some individuals find that manual manipulation performed by a chiropractor can reduce the pressure on sensitive areas of the back. 
  • Epidural injections: Spinal injections deliver steroids directly to the compromised area of the back to reduce inflammation and thus relieve pain.
  • Ultrasound: Ultrasound technology brings warmth to affected areas through sound waves, increases blood flow, and could potentially stimulate healing in some back injuries.
  • Massage therapy: Massage increases blood flow, alleviates tension in the muscles, and triggers the release of endorphins, all of which can help reduce pain levels.
  • TENS units: Using electrical stimulation, these units override pain signals in affected areas.

Some patients also use acupuncture and home therapies such as cool or warm compresses to reduce back pain caused by degenerative disc disease. Beyond these treatments, here are a few lifestyle modifications that may also help:

  • Smoking cessation: Smoking depletes oxygen, which your body needs to perform its best. Tobacco use and chronic pain often go hand-in-hand, so quitting could help you find relief.
  • Exercise: Working out may seem counterintuitive when you’re in pain, but many patients can achieve long-term healing through exercise. Aim for a combination of strengthening, stretching, and low-impact cardio moves.
  • Weight loss: Added weight puts stress on your spine, potentially intensifying your degenerative disc disease. Weight loss could reduce the stress on vertebrae and discs, alleviating back pain. 
  • Ergonomics: Ergonomics is the application of physiological principles to products such as furniture and footwear to help support healthy posture and minimize back pain. If you suspect your work environment could be contributing to your back soreness, it’s worth looking into supportive shoes, ergonomic furniture, and modifications to your posture. 

In addition to these treatments and lifestyle changes, patients seeking a nonsurgical treatment for degenerative disc disease may consider stem cell therapy. This form of regenerative medicine works at the site of injury and uses the body’s natural healing properties delivered through stem cells to repair and regenerate tissue. This treatment has been well-tolerated in studies and presents minimal risk and downtime, offering a convenient alternative to invasive procedures. If you want to learn more then contact a care coordinator today!

Stem Cell Treatment Explained: A Beginner’s Guide to the Regenerative Therapy

Stem Cell Treatment Explained: A Beginner’s Guide to the Regenerative Therapy

Regenerative therapy is an emerging subset of healthcare that leverages treatments aimed to functionally restore specific tissues in the body. It helps patients with chronic illness or persistent injuries when traditional medicine has fallen short. One of the most promising forms of regenerative medicine is stem cell therapy.

Although it’s already been in place for many years, stem cell therapy is still considered a “new” treatment, as practitioners are still finding novel applications for stem cells all the time. More than one million treatments have been performed since the therapy’s inception, and outcomes are significantly improving as protocols are refined. Here’s what you should know about stem cell therapy.

What Are Stem Cells?

Stem cells are the body’s natural repair kit. They’re the building blocks upon which all tissues and organs are built since they have the ability to transform into mature cells. While every mature cell type has a specific role – muscle cells support the muscular system, for example – stem cells’ primary role is to regenerate into other cells as needed.

If tissue breaks down due to injury, for example, stem cells will target the affected area and regenerate into the specialized cell types. When transforming into these distinct cells, they take on their properties and functions. 

A stem cell can turn into any one of the following differentiated cell types:

  • Bone cells
  • Muscle cells
  • Blood cells
  • Fat cells
  • Skin cells
  • Nerve cells
  • Stem cells (through the process of self-renewal)

Stem cells are already within our bodies, so they are not a new “invention” from scientists. While they can be harvested and transplanted from external sources, they are also able to be retrieved from the patient themselves.

Stem cells have been found naturally within the brain, as well as bone marrow, adipose (fat) tissue, and the umbilical cord tissue. They are also present in the muscles, skin, and liver.

Our bodies are constantly regenerating stem cells. For instance, we shed skin cells all the time, and thus have an entirely new set of skin every two to three weeks. Our intestinal lining and liver also have innate regenerative qualities. And, while many different systems excel at regenerating on their own, other parts need some assistance. This is the very reason stem cell therapy was created.

Doctors can extract stem cells from a patient, then concentrate and activate them to ready them for therapeutic use in the body. They can then be transplanted to the area where they are needed most, where they’ll renew, multiply, and differentiate into specialized cells with distinct properties.

Where Do Stem Cells Originate From?

Stem cells are present in embryos as well as the adult body. Embryonic stem cells are only used in research applications after they’ve been donated by individuals who have undergone in vitro fertilization (IVF) after consent. 

Adult stem cells referred to as pluripotent stem cells, have been used in therapeutic applications since the 1950s. While they can only multiply a certain number of times and transform into specific cell types, they still hold tremendous potential in therapeutic applications.

There are many new applications for disease and injury treatment is continuing to be discovered by stem cell researchers. Since the earliest findings of stem cells showed that there were considerable concentrations in the bone marrow, they were widely used as bone marrow transplants for patients with leukemia and other blood diseases. By 2010, stem cell therapy was being used for spinal injuries, and its applications in orthopedics have progressed rapidly since then. 

In addition to patient-derived sources such a bone marrow or adipose (fat) tissues, stem cells can also be found in the umbilical cord. These cells are donated after a c-section birth by a patient who has given the proper consent and has been thoroughly screened for blood diseases. For patients who have insufficient stem cell sources or maybe of a certain age, umbilical stem cells may be a good alternative. 

What Is Stem Cell Therapy?

While stem cell therapy is a cutting-edge medical option with immeasurable potential, the process itself is fairly simple. Choosing the provider is also part of the process of discovering stem cell therapy as a potential option.

First, the patient undergoes a consultation to discuss their condition and symptoms. The healthcare provider must ensure they’re a good candidate for stem cell therapy, and if so, determine which protocols will suit the patient best.

Once the stem cells have been acquired from either the patient or from a donated tissue source, they are prepared to then be readministered to the patient in targeted areas in their pre-determined treatment plan. Stringent quality control measures are in place to promote safety and optimal patient outcomes.

As the stem cells proliferate and transform into the necessary cell types, some symptoms may improve. The goal of these therapeutic treatments is to help stop or halt the progression of the patient’s condition and some also may gain symptom improvements as well as a result. Since treatment is delivered via injection and there is no large surgical site, symptoms are minimal and may include slight temporary soreness. 

The benefits of regenerative therapy are vast, however. Not only is it simple and convenient, but it can help to reverse the effects of chronic, challenging conditions. As more positive research emerges, it will likely become even more widely embraced as a go-to treatment method.

How Is Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosed?

How Is Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosed?

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society, there is no single test available which can diagnose MS on its own. Instead, healthcare providers must use a variety of approaches to confirm that a patient has the condition. These may include lab tests, neurologic exams, and the patient’s medical history. Here is how multiple sclerosis diagnosed.

Doctors must also rule out other conditions which bear similar symptoms. For instance, infections such as Lyme disease, inflammatory disorders such as vasculitis, genetic conditions, and vitamin deficiencies can all cause neurological symptoms. Various tests, including MRI, blood tests, and a spinal fluid analysis are used to rule out these conditions and confirm the presence of MS. 

As doctors work to rule out other conditions, the diagnosis process can take considerable time. Some patients may receive a definitive MS diagnosis relatively quickly, however. An accurate and timely diagnosis is critical, since uncovering the root cause for worrisome and uncomfortable symptoms can allow you to focus on treatment and alleviate any concerns over other potential causes. Moreover, starting treatment early can help to control the progression of Multiple Sclerosis, as neurologic damage can begin early on. 

What Criteria Must Be Present for an MS Diagnosis?

For a confirmed MS diagnosis, there must be:

  • Evidence of damage in at least two areas of the central nervous system (CNS), such as the spinal cord, brain, or optic nerve
  • Evidence that the damage found occurred at different times

In addition, all other potential diagnoses must be ruled out. 

What Methods Are Used to Diagnose MS? 

The McDonald Criteria call for specific guidelines for diagnosing MS using MRI and cerebrospinal fluid. An MRI may be able to uncover a second area of damage in an individual who has experienced only one MS attack. In some cases, cerebrospinal fluid analysis can also indicate two separate instances of damage. 

In addition to these measures, doctors will also ask you to describe any symptoms you’ve experienced, and may also gather information about your medical and family history, preexisting conditions, and places of travel which could indicate other illnesses or MS. They’ll also perform a comprehensive neurologic evaluation, which will encompass an analysis of the cranial nerves through swallowing and facial sensation, among other measures. Reflexes, coordination, sensation, gait, and balance will also be looked at. 

Oftentimes, medical history and neurologic exams are sufficient for getting Multiple Sclerosis diagnosed. Additional testing can confirm the diagnosis or uncover other potential causes for symptoms.

While there is no blood test that concludes the presence of MS, a blood draw can be used to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms. For instance, vitamin deficiencies, certain infections, and conditions such as Sjogren’s or lupus may be identified through a blood test. If you would like to learn more please contact a care coordinator today!

Does Stem Cell Therapy Work for Rotator Cuff Injuries?

Does Stem Cell Therapy Work for Rotator Cuff Injuries?

The rotator cuff is a complex network of muscles and tendons which stabilize the shoulder joint. As its name suggests, it allows you to rotate and raise the shoulder and is thus critical to the functionality of your arm. Injuries to the rotator cuff can cause pain and affect your daily life, and if they’re bad enough, may require surgery. Today, many are exploring another alternative to surgery: stem cell therapy

A Closer Look at Rotator Cuff Injuries

The rotator cuff can experience a partial tear or a complete tear. A partial tear occurs when the muscles that make up the cuff fray become torn, but if the damage extends through the muscle, the tear is considered complete. The tendon could pull away from the bone if left unaddressed.

Surprisingly, you won’t always experience pain with a rotator cuff tear. In fact, in 65% of cases, rotator cuff tears are considered asymptomatic. With that being said, there are still signs outside of discomfort that could indicate this shoulder problem, including:

  • Weakness throughout the shoulder or arm
  • Popping sounds or other unusual noises when moving your shoulder
  • Diminished ability lifting or using your arm (to wash your hair, for instance)
  • Pain only upon moving your arm a certain way or while lying on it
  • Difficulty reaching certain directions, such as up, out to the side, or behind you

Causes of Rotator Cuff Injuries

Rotator cuff tears are fairly common. An estimated two million people visit the doctor for this injury each year, though the prevalence could be much higher due to tears that go unnoticed. 

Many circumstances could lead to a tear, with the most common being:

  • Repetitive use due to the nature of your work, such as scanning groceries, painting windows, or cleaning
  • Sports, such as baseball, tennis, or football
  • Wear and tear on the muscles that come with aging
  • Heavy lifting
  • Injury to the arm

Rotator Cuff Injury Treatment

Rotator cuff injuries must first be accurately diagnosed before you can explore treatment options. Your doctor may use an x-ray or MRI to identify the injury. From there, they may recommend traditional treatments such as physical therapy or corticosteroid injections. Surgery could also be an option depending on the severity of your tear, but understandably, many patients wish to avoid invasive procedures.

Some patients may be good candidates for stem cell therapy. This form of treatment is much less invasive than surgery, and instead uses natural healing agents (stem cells) to repair tissue, accelerate healing, and combat inflammation. The cells can even regenerate damaged tissue, allowing your shoulder to heal itself naturally. Studies for this treatment have shown promising results, such as an increase in biomechanical strength and reduced inflammation. Thus, for patients whose rotator cuff injury has begun to affect their daily lives but surgery is undesirable, stem cell therapy is a treatment option worth considering. Contact a care coordinator today!

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