Parkinson’s disease causes severe tremors in patients, and can even affect speech and the brain. As it progresses, it can begin to decrease your quality of life and limit your mobility. There is no known cure for this condition, only medications, and potential brain surgeries to manage or improve your life-long symptoms. Stem cells therapy is being studied as a treatment for Parkinson’s patients. It has the potential to repair the damaged neurons in your brain responsible for Parkinson’s disease symptoms.
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement. Symptoms start gradually, sometimes beginning with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand or limb. Tremors are extremely common, but the disorder can also cause stiffness or slowing of movement. In the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, your face may show little or no expression. Your arms may not swing when you walk and your speech may become soft, or even slurred. Parkinson’s disease symptoms can worsen as your condition progresses over time. Although Parkinson’s disease cannot be cured, medications may be enough to significantly improve your symptoms. If the disease progresses and severely impedes your life, doctors may suggest surgery to regulate certain regions of your brain in an attempt to improve your symptoms.
The beginning point for all our cells is stem cells. They have recently been used in regenerative medicine because of their ability to repair damaged cells and create new, healthy ones. Without stem cells, our body would be unable to make any of our tissues, muscles, bones, and brain cells. There are many different methods of harvesting stem cells from our own tissues, with some methods being much easier than others. Stem cells are found in embryonic cells, adult stem cells like bone marrow cells and fat tissue cells, adult stem cells that have been changed into embryonic cells, and perinatal cells.
Stem cells taken from our fat have the ability to become mesenchymal stem cells, which can be programmed to become bone, fat, and cartilage. The easiest and most pain-free method of harvesting stem cells in adults is from a patient’s own fat tissue. These fat-derived stem cells never decline in abundance as you age, as adult bone marrow stem cells do. Bone marrow stem cells can also be extremely painful to harvest, unlike fat cells that require a relatively non-invasive procedure. Embryonic stem cells have been considered unethical to use, as they take them from unborn, fertilized embryos.
Researchers have begun studying the effects of different stem cells on Parkinson’s disease symptoms. They have found that different forms of stem cells can work on the multiple symptoms associated with Parkinson’s, not just one stem cell to treat all the symptoms. They have also found that they have the potential to repair damaged neurons and pathways in the brain that cause Parkinson’s disease.
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