Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States suffers a stroke. These medical emergencies are one of the most common causes of long-term disability in this country. These events, which usually result from clots that prevent blood from flowing to part of the brain, can dramatically impact the lives of both patients and their families.
Strokes can cause a range of impairments in patients, all of which can lower a patient’s quality of life. Patients can experience problems with motor control, memory, speech, and a range of other areas. Because the brain doesn’t regenerate brain cells, it can be difficult to fully recover from a stroke’s effects.
Traditionally, treatment plans for stroke patients have included a combination of several different physical therapies, including occupational and speech therapy. While this treatment method can help restore some lost functionality by rewiring the brain, there seems to be a limit on the effectiveness of this treatment, which tends to depend on the severity of the stroke.
However, recent research suggests that stem cell therapy may be able to improve long-term outcomes for stroke patients. When combined with physical therapy, stem cells can offer stroke patients significant relief from their symptoms.
How Stem Cells Are Used to Treat Stroke Patients
Because stem cell therapy is still relatively new in treating stroke patients, several studies are currently investigating different methods for administering stem cells. These research projects will determine which strategies are most effective for different types of stroke patients.
For example, one study looks at how stem cells isolated from patients who have suffered strokes can potentially help regenerate brain tissue. In another study, scientists have examined the effectiveness of extracellular vesicles, which are substances derived from stem cells. Both of these studies show a great deal of promise for stroke patients.
One promising study is investigating injecting stem cells into the damaged area of the stroke patient’s brain. Once these special cells are in the brain, they can potentially start regrowing brain cells.
Benefits of Stem Cell Therapy
When used in conjunction with physical therapies, stem cells can improve neurological stroke symptoms, including muscle control, vision problems, and speech deficiencies. They also show promise in suppressing brain inflammation, one of the significant obstacles to recovering from a stroke.
While there is no “cure” for stroke patients, stem cell therapy offers an exciting new frontier in helping their recovery and improving their quality of life. If you would like to learn more contact a care coordinator today!