27 Aug Stem Cell Therapy Treats Seizures Associated With Epilepsy
Epilepsy is a dangerous neurological disorder that causes seizures. These seizures can be mild to severe but have the potential to damage neurons in the brain. Stem cells are being studied as a treatment for this otherwise incurable condition. The studies are only in the earliest stages, but the data that stem cells reduce the amount of seizures epileptics have is promising.
What is Stem Cell Therapy?
Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can become any type of new cell or tissue.
They have played a large role in recent regenerative medicine practices because of their ability to restore full or partial function to damaged tissue by stimulating natural healing properties we have in our body. Stem cell therapy has been proven to repair degenerated, damaged, and injured tissues and cells. Recently, various types of stem cells have been studied for their use as a treatment in regenerative medicine like adipose-derived stem cells, bone marrow-derived stem cells, and stem cells from fetal tissue. The least controversial method is harvesting stem cells is from fat tissue because the procedure is nearly pain-free. Adipose-derived stem cells are taken from a patient’s fat tissue in a minimally invasive procedure, unlike harvesting stem cells from bone marrow tissue. The stem cells taken from fat tissue are easily obtained, as they are abundant in fat deposits that everyone has. Adipose-derived stem cells are blank slates that can become whatever you tell them to become, even in areas that have been damaged. Fat derived stem cells have been said to be superior to bone marrow-derived stem cells because the procedure is much less invasive and painful and the amount never decreases as you age.
What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a central nervous system disorder in which brain activity is abnormal, causing seizures or periods of unusual behavior, sensations, mood swings, and sometimes loss of awareness and consciousness. Anyone can develop epilepsy, but there is a genetic component to the disease. Seizure symptoms can vary widely. Some people with epilepsy simply stare blankly for a few seconds during a seizure, while others will repeatedly twitch their arms or legs during major convulsions. Having a single seizure doesn’t necessarily mean you have epilepsy. At least two unprovoked seizures are the first diagnosis of epilepsy. Treatment with medications, or in very severe cases, surgery can control seizure activity. Some people require lifelong treatment to control their seizures, but others may eventually just stop having seizures altogether. Occasionally, children with epilepsy have been known to outgrow their condition.
Scientists have been studying stem cells as a treatment for epilepsy in animal models before moving on to humans. The safety is studied in animals before it is studied in human subjects. Stem cells that have been turned into neurons have been implanted into animals with epilepsy in an attempt to control seizures and neurological damage. These new neurons can replace the damaged ones and stop seizures from occurring as frequently. More studies need to be done to test the effectiveness of this treatment. But, the initial research looks promising. Patients may one day be able to treat their epilepsy with stem cells created from their own tissues, essentially healing themselves with modern technology.