Stem Cell Research By Stanford Researchers Makes Stroke Patient Walk
A team of Stanford researchers has been left "stunned" by the outcome of the experiment that they carried out on stroke patients. The researchers injected stem cells into the brain of the stroke patients and discovered that the experimental treatment restored the motor function in a few patients.
The researchers initially conducted the study to see the safety of the treatment rather than its effectiveness. That is the reason why only 18 stroke patients were recruited as subjects.
However, the study results mark a breakthrough in the field of medical sciences and have created a buzz among neuroscience experts. The findings challenge the most popular notion related to brain damage in stroke patients, according to which the damage occurred is permanent and irreversible.
The study findings are expected to impact everyone's understanding of conditions and disorders related to the brain and the nervous system, including Alzheimer's, spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury.
The subjects who were recruited as a participant in the study had passed the initial six-month mark, which is generally considered as critical. That is, they had reached a plateau where no further improvement takes place and the brain circuits are either considered to be dead or beyond any repair.
Each and every stroke patient has impaired leg or hand movement because of occurrence of stroke beneath the brain's outermost layer. A few participants had suffered stroke almost three to five years before the date of the experiment.
The stem cells are injected as a part of one-time therapy. The researchers first drilled a hole in the subject's skull and then, stem cells were injected at multiple locations surrounding the area of the damage.
The patients, who remained conscious during the entire process, were allowed to go home after the treatment. The team found that 7 of the total 18 stroke patients experience significant benefits in their abilities, including those related to speech, vision and motor functions.
The complete details have been published in the journal Stroke.