Brain damage or traumatic brain injury is a popular cause of death and disabilities around the world for its serious neurological damage to the central nervous system. In the US, 35% of the population suffers from either severe or moderate forms of brain damage.
Some major brain damage symptoms are:
- Visual impairment
- Cognitive dysfunction
- Hearing loss
- Physical disability
- Social impairment
- Mental health disorders
A recent study reveals how stem cells can repair and replace damaged brain tissues with healthier ones, all through their intrinsic differentiation and regeneration capabilities. Let’s take a further look at how stem cells help treat brain injuries, treatment efficacy, options, the procedure, and expected outcomes.
What do studies reveal?
Stem cells are the body’s raw material with the ability to differentiate into any human cells or tissue. For instance:
- Skin cells
- Muscle cells
- Blood cells
- Heart muscle cells
- Bone cells
- Nerve cell
Studies reveal, apart from differentiation, these cells also hold strong anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, regenerative, and reparative properties that help reduce neuroinflammation, regulate immune functions, preserve brain tissues, and improve overall cognitive functions.
Brain damage can be reduced by using stem cells
Clinical evidence indicates that stem cells with their potential to differentiate into region-specific cells and integrate into the host tissue to replace or heal the lost, damaged cells—play an imperative role in regenerative medicine for treating signs of brain damage.
Due to their heightened neurogenic regeneration ability, these cells are the main focus of research in the field of neurogenesis and neural transplantation.
Furthermore, in case of brain injuries or traumas, stem cells with their inherent potential to restore damaged or destroyed neurons, promote increased levels of cell proliferation and neurogenesis within the brain. By providing trophic support to the host brain tissues, stem cells facilitate survival or regeneration.
Stem cells, besides increasing neurogenic regeneration also accelerate immature neural development and cellular proliferation within the damaged brain part. This therapeutic effect of stem cells roots from their bioactive molecules that facilitate endogenous plasticity and remodelling of the patient`s brain tissues instead of direct neural repair.
The mechanism of stem cell treatment for brain injures
Stem cell treatment for immense brain damage or injuries is a fairly simple method that involves the following steps:
Stem cells are first extracted from either the bone marrow of the hip bone or fatty tissue from the abdomen via liposuction. Mesenchymal (MSCs) and neuron stem cells (NSCs) are the most promising cell transplantation options for treating brain injuries. NSCs and MScs release neuron-protecting factors that also promote cell growth within the brain. The entire process of extraction takes around 2 hours.
The next step in stem cell therapy is preparation, the extracted MSCs are taken to the laboratory and separated through a technique called the `density gradient technique` to obtain a stem cell-rich solution. The entire process usually takes around 4-5 hours.
Once stem cells are separated, they are then transplanted directly into the injured site. This is done by transplanting the solution directly into the cerebrospinal fluid via a spinal tap. Transplanting stem cells takes around 3-4 hours and is done via surgery.
Stem cells for brain damage is a painless surgery, however, for precaution local or general anesthesia is administered during both the extraction and transplantation stages.
The patient might feel dizziness or headache after the treatment which usually goes away after a few hours. As a precaution, patients are kept under observation within the facility for 4-6 days and are prohibited from physical exertion.
What to expect from the therapy?
Stem cell therapy is a minimally invasive procedure, with first signs of improvement within 5 weeks of treatment. Over 6 months, patients notice an improvement in motor and cognitive abilities, neurological functions, and improved learning and memory functions.
However, the success of a stem cell treatment or brain damage recovery chances largely depends upon the severity of symptoms. A patient suffering from sudden and severe symptoms might not see results as fast and effective as the patient having milder symptoms.
For more effective results time is also a major factor, the earlier the treatment starts the better the outcomes would be.
Where to get brain injury stem cell treatment?
When choosing a clinic for stem cell treatment, here are some of the important things to look for in a facility:
- Owned by a licensed physician or MD, to ensure the safety and success of the whole procedure.
- Recruits trained cell-based drug injection specialists that are well-versed and experienced regarding best treatment practices.
- Uses autologous cellular sources to minimize immune reactions and treatment complications.
- Opts for image-guided procedures to ensure precise placement of the stem cells
- Provides previous client reviews or case studies to showcase their expertise and treatment success.
Reputable stem cell clinics also ensure the satisfaction of their patients before initiating the procedure, and in the after-discharge period.
Brain injury is the most common long-term disability worldwide. With recent success in cell transplantation, stem cells have shown great potential in regenerating and repairing responses to injuries involving the central nervous system.