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July 11, 2018

Now a days due to our life style, food habit, stress etc. neurological disorders, which are actually the diseases of the central and peripheral nervous system including brain, spinal cord, cranial nerves, peripheral nerves, autonomic nervous system, and neuromuscular junctionshave become a common occurrence. Dementia, Alzheimer disease, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, brain stroke, multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, traumatic disease such as spinal cord injury etc. are some of the common neurological disorders. Many people even at early age of their life suffer from brain stroke, spinal cord injury. With age Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease are found to affect many people. In fact, hundreds of millions of people globally are suffering from neurological diseases. The quality of life of the people with these diseases is greatly affected and the family members also have to be quite aware with the patients all the time. For e.g. a people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia used to forget even their names, address and are at higher risk of getting lost if went out alone. Stroke or spinal cord injury patients have to undergo rehabilitation for a prolonged period of time. It is difficult for a Parkinson’s disease patient to write, to hold coffee-mugs, and to perform other trivial day-to day activities. Assistance is even required in severe cases. Medical expenses also become very high as in most of the cases long-term treatment is needed.

How the neurological diseases treated?Since there are wide ranges of neurological diseases, there are different treatment approaches for different types. For some neurological disorders prognosis is better with proper treatment and rehabilitation, whereas prognosis is not satisfactory for some other diseases based on the patient’s condition and affected areas. The conventional treatment involves medications, surgery, and various neuromodulatory and cognitive therapies. However, complete cure is not possible with this treatment and thus lifestyle adjustment is important to accommodate imposed disability due to the diseases.

Can stem cells be used to treat neurological diseases?Previously some of the neurological disorders were considered to be incurable. However, modern stem cell researches revealing tissue reparative and regenerative potential of stem cell paved the way for utilizing stem-cell- replacement therapy for neurological disorders. Stem cells have the unique ability to divide and differentiate into various types of cells and tissue. For neurological diseases different kinds of stem cells such as Embryonic stem cells (ESCs), adult mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), neural stem cells, and induced pluripotent stem cells are used as indicated by numerous researches.For stroke, intracerebrally administered peripheral blood stem cells had shown positive result by increasing neuroplasticity. Several studies detected significant neurological recovery using stem cell therapy after brain stroke.For Parkinson’s disease, ESCSs having high renewal ability and pluripotent nature are mostly used and also bone marrow-derived MSCs are used as a source of replacement therapy.Different published literatures have shown successful use of autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantationfor multiple sclerosis, which is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system and this therapy retrain the immune system cells in these patients. Successful stem cell therapy for spinal cord injury is also known. However, till now no stem cell treatments are available for other neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy. Further researches are being conducted to consider stem cell therapy as possible treatment method for these diseases.

At present stem cell therapy is considered as an effective, safe, and promising treatment option for neurological diseases and different studies also indicate about an enhanced use of stem cell therapy as an alternative treatment method for various neurological diseases.

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