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Stem Cells for Brain Injury Recovery?

Father daughter By Kent Heckenlively, Esq.

Learning disabilities and neural defects which result in behavior problems have been notoriously difficult to treat, since the substance that causes the abnormalities, such as heroin, or organophosphates used in pesticides, seem to act diffusely in the brain, resulting in multiple defects.

But could stem cells help with autism and other learning disabilities?

Recent research from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Science Daily, “Brain Birth Defects Successfully Reversed Through Stem Cell Therapy”, December 30, 2008) suggests that such stem cell therapy could help with many learning disorders.

Dr. Joseph Yanai and associates from the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School as well as Dr. Ted Slotkin of Duke University from Duke University have been researching the possibilities. In their experiment, pregnant mice were exposed to an organophosphate pesticide and heroin in order to induce learning deficits in their offspring.  They then transplanted embryonic neural stem cells into the mice with chemically-induced brain damage.

The recovery of the mice was nearly one hundred percent, and on the molecular level, the “brain chemistry of the treated animals was also restored to normal.”  The experiment also answered a long-standing puzzle about how stem cells may work in the body, and specifically, the brain.  It’s been known that most stem cells die out in the body, but the researchers were able to show that before they died, they induced the host brain to produce a large quantity of its own stem cells, which subsequently fixed the damage.  This discovery was published earlier this year in Molecular Psychiatry, one of the leading journals in the field.

The scientists are also researching the least invasive method of delivering these neural stem cells (probably via blood vessels), as well as ways to take stem cells from the patients’ own body, and manipulating them to return to the stem cell phase of development.  This will eliminate the possibility of immunological rejection by the body.

It’s no secret to readers of Age of Autism that adult stem cells are one of the therapies I’ve tried for my daughter in the past few months.  There has been little medical research in this area, but there are some exceptionally compelling stories of individual recovery.  I have seen encouraging signs of progress in my daughter and hope that they continue.

Whether it's from stem cells, or one of the other therapies I’ve tried, a surprising recent finding is that after years of treatment and testing, my daughter is finally starting to excrete large amounts of mercury.  Rats have learning problems if they’re exposed to pesticides or heroin.  My daughter starts to excrete mercury, and all of her therapists talk about how she’s more ready to learn.  A coincidence?  I think not.

As we head into 2009 I feel hopeful that many separate lines of inquiry can combine in unforeseen ways which will enable us to make rapid advances in treatment for our children.  It’s the kind of change we can all believe in.

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Brain injury,

i have a 7yrs old son and he is having the same condition your child has. Can i know how is your child now and did you get any treatment for him? can you please share it with me?
Thanks

I know that this is a older post, but I am interested in stem cell therapy for my 3 year son diagnosed with severe autism. Is there any way that I could discuss your thoughts on its benefits and other information that you may have about this therapy?

Many injuries to the brain are not immediately apparent, with recent studies showing links between traumatic brain injury in early life and premature onset of multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer´s disease and Parkinson´s disease.

I was searching all over the place for possible cure of Learning Disabilities. I have a 3 year old son. He is cute, intelligent, and very active. However, I was told, although inconclusive, he seems to have a bit of difficulty in pronouncing words. Sometimes, he does it beautifully, sometimes he just doesn't. Since the world is so competitive now, teachers say he is good, but with the exception that he can't pronounce words probably. He can identify if you ask him, for example if its raining, he will say rain, and the same goes to cloudy and etc. However, he cannot speak full sentence consistently, even though, he gets along well with other kid. He speaks full sentence with them, but they don't understand him, because it sounds so baby and cute. It just puzzles me and my wife, because we gave him the best diet, and have many alternative learning programs. He is extremely happy and popular, so I am just puzzle, does he really have LD? or is he just a late boomer. Both myself and my wife always take him out, so he can explore in Disneyland , and other theme parks, and vacations in Asia. He loves it, and we provide him with many great TV series, like "Thomas and Friends", "Mickeys", and "Barney series" to stimulate his interest in learning. He loves watching those series, and can imitate characters, so I hope teachers are wrong, because I reside in HK, and its very pushy here in academics, because too many applicants and too few schools. My son goes to two very well known international schools, and we hope that he can continue normally like other kids. However, if he really has LD, and its no cure, will stem therapy restores him to normal. Has anybody try, and can somebody please let me know if they have success with it... I am just dead worried, but don't have a clue of what I can do... Appreciate of any constructive comments. Thank you....

Thanks for providing this platform.I have a son with birth asphexia having IQ near 50. He can understand our talks but he can't talk.Whether we can use stem cells theropy to improve him & help him to live better. I am having second issue & can collect stem cells during pregnancy in a month.
Does there have any case of curing using this theropy?
so your early reply is expected.

What if, your brain isn't proper developed, from birth, like the woman on the net, which recently had a brain scan, and it was discovered, that half her brain was missing - could stem cells "repair" or restore the missing part? Her functional brain "rewired" itself to overtake all body functions - but, at a downgraded level. I perhaps got the same - scans will show - but, how "repairing" are the stem cells? I hope, the question is within topic, and looking forward for a positive, true answer. Thank you for taking your time.

My son had meningitis when he was nine months old. He is two and half now, not walking or talking yet. We were told that he had damage on the right side of his brain and that has affected his global development. I desperatly need your advice. I am thinking stem cells treatment. Any ideas?

i have a three yr old boy who is on the autistic spetrum and am thinking of using the stem cell therapy.pls can you kindly tell me where you had this teatment for your daugter and an idea of the cost,i also want to know about the other therapy you used along side the stem cell.any suggestion is appreciated.thanks alot for the article.

regards bili

Hi Kent, I'm glad to here your daughter is doing well. It is a long hard road for us all.Our 10 year old son Nicky has followed a similar path to your daughter. We have tried everything from DR. Goldbergs NIDS protocol to Dr. Yasko We to traveled to Costa Rica to the institute of cellular medicine last winter. The people at the institute could not have been kinder or more compassionate. Sadly the stem cell therapy had no positive results for our son. I think the mercury in his brain killed the stem cells. We are currently trying Dr. Haley's OSR to chelate the Mercury out. So far this has resulted in a massive yeast infection which we are treating with Nizoral. If we are able to get the Mercury out we will return to Costa Rica to try again. 3 months ago we signed up for the ACE pathway study but as of yet we still do not have our test kit. I can't seem to get an answer from the folks over there. If you have any information about this please let me know . Best of luck to you and your family. Gregg and Julia Kunkowski

This was a great story and I am so happy to hear that the University of Jerusalem is looking into this for brain birth defects even if it is in another country. As far as Duke University goes, Dr Kurtzberg told me personaly she wants nothing to do with stem cell treatments and autism, lets hope she changes her mind. My dream is to have clinical trials done in the near future. My beleif is that you repair the immune system with Adult Stem cells and your body will detoxic itself from mercury and other toxins. I am glad to see that my son Matthew is giving so many hope and helping to shine the light on this treatment. One day we will view and treat Autism in a totally new way with Adult Stem Cell treatments.
Daniel
www.recoveringMatthew.blogspot.com

I have only recently begun to read the Age of Autism newsletter, and don't know whether use of stored umbilical cord blood has been discussed here before. The procedures for obtaining cord blood may not be safe. The cord is clamped as soon after birth as possible to maximize the amount collected. If the cord is clamped before your baby has begun to breathe, a lapse in respiration may occur. The auditory system of the brain can sustain damage during such a lapse, which in turn may interfere with a child learning to speak. My son needed to be resuscitated at birth, which led me to look-up every possible way oxygen deprivation could have caused his developmental language disorder. I posted a website with my ideas nearly 9 years ago, and some of the most important feedback I have received is from people who view umbilical cord clamping as a serious medical error that has progressively increased over the decades since the 1930s - more on my website at http://www.conradsimon.org/.

This is amazing information! Kent, I am very intested in the huge possibities for the future of the children here. Please keep us all updated on your daughters progress. I will keep her in our thoughts.

I watched the videos on Matthews blog. That's amazing.

For anyone who wants more general information, here's a great article on the subject of stem cells: http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/articles/winter01/stem_cell.html

Among other things the article states:
"Embryonic stem cells have not yet been used [sucessfully] for even one therapy, while adult stem cells have already been successfully used in numerous patients, including for cardiac infarction (death of some of the heart tissue)."

"adult stem cells possess a much greater potential for differentiation than previously assumed."

"Indeed, there are indications of another capability of adult stem cells: Apparently they have the potential to be "reprogrammed." Not only can they adjust to the specific conditions of a new tissue environment, but they can even assume more generalized, earlier levels of development, so that it even appears possible that they become totipotent again."

"They should therefore be able to repair damaged or defective tissues (for example, destroyed insulin-producing cells in the pancreas). Many of the so-called degenerative diseases, for which there are as yet no effective therapies, could then be alleviated or healed."

And another advantage of adult stem cells over embryonic is "there are no rejection reactions, because the cells are from the same body".


The previous AoA article mentioned damaged glutamate receptors as a possible cause of autism.

"Glutamate receptors, such as the NMDA receptor, bind glutamate"

"Glutamate transporters are supposed to remove glutamate from the extracellular space, but "In brain injury or disease they can work in reverse and excess glutamate can accumulate outside cells. This process causes calcium ions to enter cells via NMDA receptor channels, leading to neuronal damage and eventual cell death, and is called excitotoxicity. The mechanisms of cell death include
*Damage to mitochondria from excessively high intracellular Ca2+;[4]
*Glu/Ca2+-mediated promotion of transcription factors for pro-apoptotic genes, or downregulation of transcription factors for anti-apoptotic genes.
Excitotoxicity due to glutamate occurs as part of the ischemic cascade and is associated with stroke and diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, lathyrism,
autism, some forms of mental retardation and Alzheimer's disease. Glutamic acid has been implicated in epileptic seizures."

"Excess glutamate at synapses, which may be released in conditions such as traumatic brain injury, can prevent the uptake of cysteine, a necessary building block of glutathione. Without the protection from oxidative injury afforded by glutathione, cells may be damaged or killed." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glutathione

So regardless of whether the damage to the receptors is caused by msg or heavy metals I wonder if adult stem cell therapy could repair the receptors and thus enable the body to make more glutathione? (which would probably be beneficial since glutathione seems to be related in some way to most theories and effective treatments for autism) -- I'm just speculating at this point, but I find this very interesting...

I know this topic sparks a great deal of interest. I'm happy to write of my experience but that doesn't mean I'm suggesting it for anybody. It's your decision. However, if you'd like further information about this therapy you can go to www.cellmedicine.com or call 1-800-980-7836.

You can also check out www.recoveringmatthew@blogspot.com for a parent report on the treatment.

All the best,
Kent Heckenlively

Did you use your daughter's own cord blood? We have our son's banked (and his sisters). Could this be of any use to us in treating his ASD?

Kent - you obviously went out of country correct?

I'd love to find somewhere to do a stem cell extraction and implantation since I have identical twins - one with ASD and one not - figure I have the ideal donor?

Matt:

I used cord blood stem cells. I have heard mixed results on embryonic stem cells for autism. I'm also interested in seeing what develops for stem cells from menstrual blood as they seem to have a great deal more growth factors in them.

Kent.

What is the recomended source of stem cells for brain nuron regeneration?
Two of our eight children have autism (one on each end of the spectrum) With number 9 on the way this July, we are considering stem cell treatment for our most effected child using cord blood. Is this a disirable source?

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