Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a degenerative disease of the nervous system which impacts movement. There is currently no cure, though drugs such as levodopa are used to stimulate dopamine production and control symptoms. Unfortunately, this traditional treatment has a host of both physiological and psychological side effects. In response to the need for new treatment alternatives, researchers have been studying the efficacy of stem cell therapy for PD.
The Challenges of Parkinson’s Disease
PD occurs when nerve cells deteriorate within the brain, causing a reduction in dopamine. As a key messenger between the areas of the brain responsible for movement, dopamine plays a significant role in controlling both voluntary and involuntary movement throughout the body. Thus, when levels drop, patients may experience symptoms such as:
- Muscle stiffness
- Slowed movement
- Loss of reflexes
- Difficulty writing, speaking, and performing other daily tasks
The precise causes for PD are currently unknown, but experts believe an interplay of genetic and environmental factors may contribute.
Stem Cell Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease
Stem cells are known as undifferentiated cells, which means they can transform into virtually any cell type within the body. This is critical in the healing process, as stem cells can repair or replace the cells which have been compromised by disease or injury. They also have the capability of self-renewal, and can multiply exponentially to repopulate areas where tissue has been damaged.
According to research, stem cell therapy shows benefits for individuals with PD, with improvements in their Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) of up to 38%. Patients experienced improvements in symptoms such as gait, facial expression, and freezing episodes, and were able to reduce the amount of medication they were taking for the condition. Moreover, they experienced no serious adverse effects resulting from the therapy.
The natural power of stem cells for treating Parkinson’s Disease comes from their ability to supply dopaminergic neurons and help manage daily symptoms and potentially reduce medicine intake. For patients interested in exploring therapies outside traditional medications, this new treatment could make a noticeable difference in improving symptoms.
This post was written by Becky Palmer, a medical professional at Stemedix Inc. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine, also known as Stem Cell Therapy in Tampa. Regenerative medicine seeks to replace tissue or organs that have been damaged by disease, trauma, or congenital issues.