28 May 2013
Stem cell treatment has had a revolutionary impact on the health of five disabled stroke patients. The clinical trial was conducted at Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital, and is one of the first to test the effects of stem cell injections on damaged parts of the brain.
So far, the effects have been “somewhat surprising”, according to trial leader Keith Muir. Thanks to stem cell treatment, “we’ve seen people who now have the ability to move their fingers where they have had several years of complete paralysis”, Prof Muir said. “My expectation had been that we would see very little change and if we did see change it would be a relatively short-lived temporary change. [But] we have seen changes that have been maintained over time.”
The injections may be directly responsible for patients’ increased mobility and ability to carry out daily tasks, like bathing and getting dressed in the morning. Nine patients have taken part in the trial, with over half showing sustained improvement.
Further testing must be conducted before stem cells’ effectiveness is clinically proven. If it is, it could change the way many operations are carried out, including craniotomy and neurological surgery.
The healthcare research and subsequent trials are invaluable, as strokes affect over 152,000 Britons every year.
Posted by Jeanette Royston
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