(08/28/13) - The healing power of stem cells continues to expand, as researchers believe they are close to a stroke treatment that could reverse or stop some of the most devastating effects.
Every 45 seconds, someone suffers a stroke in the United States. If it doesn't kill you, a stroke may leave you severely partially paralyzed. Until now, the only hope for recovery from paralysis brought on by the stroke was lengthy rehabilitation. But it turns out, our own stem cells may offer hope - a way to repair brain damage that causes it.
James Anderson was on a trip to Florida when suddenly, "I started to feel a little dizzy a little tingling in my right hand and I ended up having a stroke."
James is an athlete and tri-athalon competitor, still the stroke hit him hard. His body did not respond to clot busting medication or blockage treatments, so he became paralyzed on the left side of his body.
Neurologist Dr. Dileep Yavatal treated James as part of a clinical trial. Some patients studied were treated with their own stem cells.
"I would bring a catheter from the groin all the way up into the artery in the brain and then at its last branching point, I would deliver the stem cells into this area," Dr. Yavatal says.
While James doesn't know if he was injected with his own stem cells, two months after treatment, he says, "I have had more movement and strength in my legs."
For the clinical trial, stem cells must be injected into the brain no later than two weeks after the stroke happens. James is now able to move around with a walker during rehab, and hopes to be able to compete in a triathlon again someday.
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