How Stem Cells Work For TBI & Concussion
Stem cells are special cells that have the ability to develop into different types of cells in the body. They start out as blank canvases, with the same genetic material as every other cell, but without the specialized proteins that give cells their unique functions. As cells develop, they become specialized for specific functions and lose the ability to become any other type of cell.
However, scientists have discovered ways to reprogram certain cells to become stem cells again. This process involves erasing epigenetic changes in the cells that caused them to specialize in the first place. Once the cells are returned to their “blank canvas” state, they can develop into any type of cell needed by the body.
In the case of TBI, stem cells can be injected into the damaged brain to help repair it. When the stem cells are introduced, they integrate into the neural network of the brain and develop into the specific types of cells needed to repair the damage. For example, stem cells can develop into new neurons, which are critical for brain function.
Stem Cells Can Stimulate Improvement in Cognition and Motor Functions
There are reports suggesting that stem cell therapy can be beneficial for TBI and stroke patients, with some patients reporting a reversal in paralysis after undergoing stem cell therapy. Quantitative studies have also shown that introducing stem cells into the human brain is safe and effective. For example, a study involving 97 TBI patients found that 46% of patients who were initially in persistent vegetative states showed improvements in consciousness after receiving stem cell therapy. Additionally, 37% of patients who initially had motor function disturbances showed motor improvements. In this study, each patient received “autologous” stem cells, meaning the stem cells were harvested from their own bodies.
Stem Cell Treatment Risks
When a new type of cell is introduced into the body, the immune system may recognize it as foreign and attack it, similar to what happens with organ transplants. This can be mitigated by using a donor with genetic similarities to the recipient. However, when autologous stem cells are used, the donor and recipient are the same person, which significantly reduces the risk of an immune response.
One concern is that induced master stem cells could give rise to tumors. Because these cells are meant to divide and flourish, they might continue to do so past the point at which we would want them to. So far, this risk has been most noticeable in animal studies. In humans, more long-term studies are needed, in order to better understand the balance between risks and benefits.
What to Know Before Getting Stem Cells
Where do I get Stem Cell Treatment?
First, understand that not everyone is a good candidate for stem cell treatments. When Brittny and I consulted with Dr. Steenblock in California, he suggested that she work on her gut and vascular health before undergoing stem cell treatments (Which we are currently doing with Purium). In his practice he ensures that the patient is in optimal physical health so the stem cells are more effective in treating the brain.
Due diligence in investigating any treatment provider’s stem cell specific training background is highly recommended before engaging in therapy. Dr. Steenblock’s clinic in California and the NSI Stem Cell clinics are who I’d feel comfortable treating with.