About Alzheimer's Stem Cell Therapy
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What is Alzheimer’s disease?
This is a complex disease which affects brain nerve cells. It is the most common cause of dementia and effective treatment is very difficult.
What causes Alzheimer’s is still unclear. However, researchers have found out that there is an abnormal buildup of certain proteins in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. Amyloid-beta is an example of one such protein. It clumps together to form ‘plaques’. Tau is another example, and it gets twisted into protein ‘tangles’.
Scientists have a theory that the plaques prevent proper communication of the brain nerve cells. The tangles make it hard for the nerve cells to get the nutrients they require. As the disease progresses, the nerve cells begin to die. Because of this, Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease.Symptoms of the disease include:
How is Alzheimer’s disease treated?
- Lapses in memory
- Struggling to find the right words to communicate
- Mood swings
- Difficulty in completing regular tasks
- Inability to speak or write
- Reduced judgment
- Difficulty interpreting visual information.
Currently, Alzheimer’s disease has no cure. Medications are used to temporarily alleviate the symptoms by improving the ability to manage regular activities or enhancing memory. Most of these medications are cholinesterase inhibitors and they are used to prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine (a natural substance in the brain), which carries the signals between the neurons.What are stem cells?
These are cells that can multiply and increase themselves (self-renew). In addition, they can develop and transform into different types of specialist cells which can carry out a specific function.How are stem cells administered?
Can stem cell therapy be repeated?
- Intravenous: This is administered by injection into the vein.
- Direct injections: This is administered by injecting the stem cells directly into the site in need of repairs such as tendons and muscles.
- Intranasal: This is administered to access a highly vascular pathway of the nose to help the stem cells travel past the blood brain barrier.
Yes, stem cell therapy can be done severally. Current research indicates the strong possibility of a cumulative effect from multiple therapies.How long does it take for the therapy to be effective?
After the stem cell therapy, the stem cells have to make their way into the area in need of repair and then have their effect. This process takes time and usually takes several weeks or months to see the desired effect.Can stem cell therapy be used to treat Alzheimer’s?
Currently, no proven and effective stem cell treatment for this disease is available. However, research is underway which utilizes stem cell technology to investigate the causes and effects of the disease. It is expected that their findings will play a crucial role in finding new drugs and cell-based therapies in the future. Stem cell therapy may help Alzheimer’s patients who do not respond to drug treatment, want to limit their reliance on medication or want to try stem cell therapy before drug treatment. Even if healthy, neural stem cells are available and can be safely transplanted, they would have to achieve therapeutic benefits by:
- Traveling into multiple areas of the brain
- Produce various types of neurons required to replace the lost or damaged cells
- Does this in a way that helps the new neurons effectively integrate into the brain, making connections to replace the lost ones.
Learn more about Alzheimer's