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September 15, 2018

As we age, wisdom and knowledge comes, but that’s not all. Entering into twilight years can put a person at risk for certain health issues. Everyone will not get affected with disease; however by being aware with disease conditions we can be cautious towards health. Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) is one of the diseases that typically affects elder people around the age of 60, and is rarely occur in people under the age of 40. PSP is a progressive brain disorder characterized by gait and balance difficulties and loss of eye coordination movements. As disorder name indicates that disease gets worsen (progressive) with time and can lead to life-threatening complication such as pneumonia and swallowing problems. PSP disorder is caused by deterioration of cells in certain part of the brain above nerve cell cluster called nuclei (supranuclear) that control movement, vision and thinking.

Symptoms

The characteristic symptoms of progressive supranuclear palsy include-

  • Difficult to balance : The very first symptom of PSP is loss of balance while walking
  • Difficult to control eye movements: People face problem in voluntarily shifting their gaze vertically and person experience blurred vision.

Symptoms can get worsen with time and may include:

  • Stiffness and awkward movements
  • Falling which could lead to head injuries, fractures and other injuries
  • Problems in swallowing
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Difficulties with memory, reasoning, problem-solving and decision-making
  • Depression and anxiety

Cause

The cause of progressive supranuclear palsy isn’t known. Researchers have found that abnormal amount of protein called tau is present in the the deteriorating brain cells of people with progressive supranuclear palsy. Clumps of tau are also characteristic of other neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease. The inheritance of this disorder is also not clear till.

Treatment

There is no cure for progressive supranuclear palsy, current treatment modalities just aim to ease symptoms of the disorder and delay the disease progression.

  • Parkinson’s disease medications- PSP has similar kinds of symptoms like Parkinson, so medications used in Parkinson have been tried in PSP patients. The effectiveness of these medications is very limited and usually temporary.
  • Botox injection around your eye muscles can improve eyelid spasms.
  • Bifocal eyeglasses may help in looking downward
  • Speech and swallowing evaluations, to help you learn safer swallowing techniques.
  • Physical therapy and occupational therapy may help to improve in making balance while walking.

 Stem cell therapy for Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP)

Stem Cell therapy is coming up as powerful new therapeutic strategies for a wide spectrum of neurological disorders such as Parkinson disease, Alzheimer disease, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrohy etc. Stem cells are basic building blocks of body which has unique characteristics of self renewal and differentiation to different kinds of cells. Medical scientists are exploring this potential ability of stem cells to regenerate lost or damaged tissues to treat many diseases that are non-treatable with traditional therapies.

Stem cells can be extracted from the bone marrow and adipose tissue that provide an abundant supply of stem cells and thus considered to be the most potent choice of stem cell suppliers. Bone marrow or adipose-derived stem cells differentiated into glial-like cells release a range of neurotrophic factors, which provides neuro-protection and neuro-regenerative effects that further support in the repairing of damaged nerves.

Recently a published case study of 71 year old patient with progressive supranuclear palsy showed no significant adverse events, and delayed the progression of neurological deficits by achieving functional improvement in the follow-up period after having autologous adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells injection. Still, a lot needs to be explored to utilize the full potential of stem cell therapies it is expected that continued research will pave the way for new treatment modality devastating medical conditions like progressive supranuclear palsy. With these miracles of modern medicine, it will become possible to live a happier life over a longer period of time.

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