Call US NOW (844) GET-STEM

Call US NOW (844) GET-STEM


Author Archive: aenriquez

Vampire Facials: A New Role for Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy?

stem cell plasma therapy works Stem cell technology has the promise to change medicine forever. From athletes looking to return quickly from tendon injuries that usually require surgery and months of recovery to celebs looking for the next big thing in anti-aging medicine. These two seemingly unrelated areas of medicine are, incredibly, treated by the same new therapy. Enter Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy. Over the past few years, more and more buzz has surrounded the technology in the celeb world as many high profile figures have had what has been dubbed “vampire facials”. The list of figures includes Kim Kardashian, Bar Rafaeli and Stephen Bar. Undergoing simple injections they claim the therapy has anti-aging effects better than botox. But is there any truth in the claims?

What is platelet rich plasma therapy?

To understand whether this stem cell technology has the potential to stop aging, it’s best to have an idea of the biology behind it. Your blood is made up of a variety of different components. The most obvious of this is red blood cells which carry oxygen to muscles and tissues that need it. But there is also plasma, which contains a number of components including platelets – a protein that usually helps the blood clot when you cut yourself and bleed. Their platelets are therefore actively released when you injure yourself and have a number of roles in the healing process.  In platelet-rich plasma therapy, platelets and growth factors (another component of plasma) are taken from the patient’s own blood. They are purified using a centrifuge and then injected back into the patient. This has been found to have regenerative properties and help healing! Using the patient’s own platelets also comes at a huge advantage in that there is no risk of rejection. This is a serious complication of other therapies like blood or organ donation but is avoided by using the patient’s own blood.

 

Does plasma therapy work for aging?

The big question is whether stem cell plasma therapy works as an anti-aging medication. Recent scientific work by Doctors in Verona, Italy suggests that it may. In an article published in September 2017 they found that platelet-rich plasma therapy increased reticular dermis thickness with a fibrotic aspect. In English, that means after injection the skin becomes thicker and fuller because more elastic and collagen fibers were laid down – in effect reversing the aging process on skin! Although this is one of the first studies down on the therapy it is a promising result and backs up the claims made by Kim Kardashian who is a champion of the new therapy.

Joint Pain? Watch Out for Pain in Elbow When Straightening Arm

Pain in Elbow When Straightening Arm Therapy Strength and flexibility are so important on a day to day basis and when there is a restriction of movement in the arm or shoulder, this can be highly detrimental. Any pain in the elbow when straightening arm must be seen by a doctor, although it is commonly experienced for a number of reasons including elbow arthritis. This occurs due to the cartilage wearing out although the injury is another likely cause. The elbow is a much more stable joint than the knee or hip because it is the non-weight bearing but, care should always be taken with all the joints of the body. For any sports-minded individual, elbow pain is common. Where former injuries may have occurred i.e. a fall, a fracture to the elbow or, if the joint has been dislocated, there is the potential for elbow arthritis. Joint mobility and chronic or acute pain will need to be managed and to aid healing, stem cell therapy for elbow may be considered.

Where arthritis is particularly bad, reconstructive surgery may be necessary. It’s important to note that the elbow will never be fully healed to its former condition, this is especially so if there is some degeneration of the joint. This is a problem for sports enthusiasts such as tennis players or for those who enjoy cricket as cartilage damage is common. Medical diagnosis is important, especially when any swelling or pain sensations are experienced within the joint. The elbow may become locked or flexibility greatly reduced. If the diagnosis is not detected early, there can be greater deterioration of the elbow joint as pressure increases on the ulnar nerve. Diagnosis methods include x-ray, CT Scan, and MRI which will highlight any joint abnormalities.

Depending on the extent of the injury, elbow arthritis will be painful. Physical therapy will help improve flexibility and mobility and improve muscle strength helping to restore function. Oral pain medication will be given but steroid injections may also be prescribed. Topical steroid injections are applied directly to the elbow but this does not heal the joint, rather, it controls pain instead for a short term. The fluid composition within the joint can be improved through injecting hyaluronic acid but self-help treatments such as supplements of glucosamine or chondroitin are also useful.

Stem cell therapy is a useful way to help improve healing and in turn, this will improve the quality of life on a day to day basis. Stem cells are responsible for the generation of new cells and can be obtained through fat deposits or the patient’s mesenchymal (MSCs). They help to boost regeneration of the cartilage, secreting anti-inflammatory agents which may decrease pain and existing inflammation. There are no side-effects with stem cell therapy in comparison to the use of steroid injections, it also seems to be tolerated well and this is because the stem cells are taken from the patient, so, there is no risk of rejection. Preventative measures are best when it comes to joint health but early diagnosis of any joint pain will help with the recovery process.

Detection of the Early Signs of Arthritis in Feet is Paramount

If you have noticed pain and swelling starting to occur in the ankle or feet joints and this is starting to impede flexibility and mobility, it’s important to seek medical advice. Early signs of arthritis in feet should always be noted as this will help your doctor to determine the best options for pain relief and treatment. Foot arthritis can be incredibly painful and over time, it’s possible to lose mobility in the joints and for deformity to occur. Most commonly, osteoarthritis is responsible and this usually occurs through natural wear and tear, but, sometimes, surgery is necessary and there is much to consider in respect of pain relief including stem cell injections for foot pain. If the pain is chronic, there are options to consider and it is worth asking your doctor for more information.

Early signs of arthritis in feetIt’s easy to see how painful your feet can become if foot arthritis sets in. There are 28 bones and 30 joints in this part of your body and arthritis can easily occur in the joint between the shinbone and ankle. It can occur in the big toe joint as well and the three joints between the heel bone and inner and outer bones of the foot. Arthritic pain should never be just ignored. Left untreated, it can impact life on a considerable scale and pain can begin to increase from chronic to acute. The doctor will ask a variety of questions to determine how the pain is affecting you but observation is also important. Typically, diagnosis makes use of a gait analysis test. The doctor will monitor how you walk, observing any unnatural gait, sending you for an x-ray, bone scan or even a CT scan if necessary. If walking is impaired or if walking is awkward to compensate for the pain, this can throw the body out of alignment and create other health issues. It is best to seek medical help sooner than later before joint deformity occurs.

There are non-surgical medications that can be prescribed including medication for pain, physical therapy, and even steroids. Steroid injections are provided to those who have an arthritic foot or ankle joints but it is important to note that steroids will not cure the disease but will at least provide some relief from pain. It should also reduce swelling. Only certain types of steroids can be used for this type of condition as it is possible to damage cartilage in these areas. However, medical research has discovered that it is possible to inject stem cells into the areas that are affected and instead of just managing the symptoms, it can promote healing naturally through the production of anti-inflammatory agents which will help to decrease inflammation. It also helps with the lubrication of the joints through secreting hyaluronic acid. Stem cells can help to regenerate damaged joints and develop new healthier cells and injections can even repair cartilage damage. This is crucial to help maintain health and well-being and helps life to become less focused on pain and pain management.

Pain and Numbness After Shingles – Improvement with Stem Cell Therapy

Postherpetic Neuralgia - numbness after shinglesShingles is the medical term for a specific viral infection that causes a painful rash. This rash will appear over a specific area of the body where the previously dormant varicella-zoster virus, that causes chicken-pox, becomes activated in the nerves cells near the spine due to certain factors such as being ill from another infection which causes the immune system to drop. Symptoms such as pain and numbness after shingles may occur and are referred to as postherpetic neuralgia.

Other symptoms of postherpetic neuralgia include a burning sensation, sensitivity of the affected area, and tingling after shingles. The risk factors associated with developing this complication is being an advanced age (over 60), and the area where the shingles initially occurred.

Management of postherpetic neuralgia

There is no cure for postherpetic neuralgia, but there are conservative measures which can be incorporated to help alleviate the symptoms caused by this complication.

These measures include the use of lidocaine or capsaicin skin patches that are applied to the affected area. The latter of these has been shown to be effective for up to three months after the patch is applied. Anti-epileptic medications such as pregabalin and gabapentin help to stabilize the neuronal activity in the nerve cells resulting in a decrease in the symptoms. Antidepressant medications such as amitryptiline and duloxetine have shown to affect the way pain is sensed by the body, so these also help to bring about a relief of symptoms.

If these medications aren’t effective, then opioid medications such as codeine and tramadol may be prescribed. These drugs do have the potential to result in dependence though which can lead to addictive behavior, so these are potential concerns that need to be weighed against the benefit of the medication to the patient.

Stem cell therapy for postherpetic neuralgia

Stem cells are primitive cells that undergo differentiation into different tissues of the body such as bone, blood, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons. They are therefore responsible for the repair of damaged tissues but as one gets older, the body loses the ability to attract stem cells to complete the recovery process. Stem cell therapy has been shown in many clinical research trials to be an extremely effective form of treatment in patients who have experienced injuries to these tissues.

Numerous studies have shown that the intravenous administration of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) help with relieving pain caused by neuropathic problems. MSCs are known to release anti-inflammatory compounds that help to modulate pain in affected individuals.

Postherpetic neuralgia is considered a neuropathic condition because the nerve cells are affected to elicit the mentioned symptoms. Therefore, it stands to reason that stem cell therapy in patients with postherpetic neuralgia should be able to repair damaged nerve tissue, and MSC administration can produce anti-inflammatory effects to reduce the pain, numbness and burning sensation caused by this complication of shingles.

Stem cell therapy is only known to have minor side-effects associated it such as headaches. It is not associated with any other major issues or complications and is, therefore, a very safe form of treatment.

Innovative Therapy for Pain on Inside of Elbow

Inflammation of the tendon (tendonitis) is the most common cause of golfers and tennis elbow (pain on inside of elbow and outside of the elbow, respectively). The reason why golfers and tennis elbow occur is due to repetitive movements where the tendons around the elbow persistently rub over the bony aspects of the joint. This occurs when performing activities such as swinging a golf club or tennis racquet, or when performing normal activities such as shaking hands, opening a door, or lifting up objects.

Pain on inside of elbow - Elbow TendonitisSigns and symptoms of elbow tendonitis    

Elbow tendonitis can be an extremely painful condition that can cause disability in patients to the point where they cannot perform their normal daily activities.

Affected individuals will complain of severe pain over the inside or outside aspects of the elbow, depending on which tendons are affected, and this can be associated with tenderness and swelling of the joint. There may also be limited mobility of the elbow with a decreased range of motion. Pain in the joint may also refer up and/or down the arm, with pain being experienced in the shoulder and/or wrist joints, respectively.

Management of elbow tendonitis

Elbow tendonitis can heal by itself with supportive measures such as resting the limb of the affected joint, applying cold compresses to the tender area, and by using an elbow support or strap. Resting the wrist joint is actually part of the protocol of golfer’s and tennis elbow treatments because when this joint is rested, the muscle and tendons in the forearm rest and can recover over a shorter period of time. Anti-inflammatory medications are used to help offer pain relief by reducing the inflammatory response in the tendons of the affected elbow.

If these conservative golfer and tennis elbow treatments are not effective, then physical therapy and even surgery may be indicated. Before surgery is warranted though, innovative therapies can be initiated.

Platelet-rich plasma and stem cell therapy

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP), derived from the patient’s own blood, is a safe and effective therapy in the treatment of elbow tendonitis. The PRP is administered to the patient via an injection and this promotes tissue repair in the damaged tendon. This process involves the platelet cells stimulating the release of growth factor and stem cells from the body which is essential for tissue repair and natural healing.

Stem cells derived from the bone marrow were used in a previous study that demonstrated the usefulness of surgery followed by stem cell administration for managing severe and persistent cases of tennis elbow. The outcomes of the patients who were administered stem cells were an early return to daily activities following surgery, and a reduction in complications on their follow-up visits. Tendon repair was evident when the tissue was observed through ultrasound techniques.

Stem cells have also been derived from adipose (fat) tissue. These cells take longer to be harvested from adipose tissue, but they can be stored and used at a later stage. The stem cells collected from fat are, like PRPs, derived from the patient and does not involve the harvesting cells from embryos.

Piglet Study Can Have a Huge Effect on IVF

It is not a secret that undergoing IVF is very expensive. Hopeful parents-to-be spend upwards of $12,000 per session plus also shoulder the cost of medications which can be between $3,000 and $5,000 – figures that not everybody can afford.  Good thing that the high cost of IVF can be a thing of the past thanks to a new research that begun with a study concerning piglets.

A Chance Discovery

 

Stem Cell Piglet StudyBond Life Sciences Center investigator and MU Curators Distinguished Professor of Animal Sciences R. Michael Roberts and College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources Curators Distinguished Professor Randall Prather were conducting a study with pig stem cells to find out how they communicate, proliferate, and grow in the body when they stumbled upon an exciting find. During an attempt to improve the procedure to grow the pig stem cells in their lab, they discovered that using a special liquid medium dramatically improved the success rate of IVF in pigs.

Roberts shared that the discovery was truly serendipitous. He added that generally speaking, multiple steps are needed to produce viable pig embryos that can be used for implantation in their research. They wanted to find a more efficient way because going through the steps is very expensive and can sometimes produce poor returns. What they found is not only that but also has major implications for use in human fertility clinics too.

Persistence Pays Off

 

Roberts stated that in IVF for pigs, going through the steps of the current procedure often mean that only 1% to 2% of the original oocytes can make it to the phase where they can be implanted to sows (to produce healthy piglets). Although this can be somehow addressed by over-implantation of embryos, the resulting cost is too expensive.

Roberts then tasked his former research assistant professor Ye Yuan and senior research specialist in Animal Sciences Lee Spate to find a way to increase the quality and efficiency of piglet embryos before they are implanted.

The team then analyzed various growth factors and made a bold move to add two factors,  a leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) and fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2). They then found out that together with a third factor, an insulin-like growth factor; these two factors created a special liquid environment that the oocytes needed to make them ready for implantation and improve their development to embryos with an increased chance of a successful pregnancy.

New Fluid Medium for IVF Sparks Possibilities

 

The three compounds used by the research team is now called the chemical medium FLI and is currently being hailed as a new fluid medium that can revolutionize both human IVF treatments and pig IVF treatments. The team has already filed a patent application through the MU Office of Technology Management and Industry Relations in the hopes of encouraging the commercial application of the new method.

Roberts further added that using the new fluid medium improved the whole process of pig IVF. He shares that it almost doubled the maturation of oocytes. He went on to say that although improving IVF for women with fertility issues wasn’t their reason for developing the fluid medium, the fact that their find can have a huge positive impact on human fertility is a welcome development.

Stem Cell Therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Arthritis

Stem cell therapy is being used to treat a wide range of diseases and conditions. Rheumatoid arthritis, which is painful and debilitating, is an inflammatory condition that is induced when the body’s enzymes attack healthy tissue. In what is an autoimmune response, the enzymes work to break down the synovial membrane. This membrane is responsible for protecting and lubricating joints. When this occurs an individual will experience pain, swelling, and reduced mobility. The condition can be crippling, and, if left untreated, it may become chronic as joint degeneration sets in.

Some Facts About Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis and its various symptoms are not reserved for the elderly. This condition can affect anyone at any age. It is rapidly developing, striking quickly, and, over the course of just a few months, it can become full blown. This form of arthritis symmetrically affects both small and large joints while also causing an overall feeling of fatigue in the affected individual.

Traditional Treatments

Traditional treatments for rheumatoid arthritis include over the counter and prescription pain medications and cortisone shots. The shots are administered to each joint individually. Other medications may also be used. There are various possible side effects associated with each aspect of this type of therapy.

The most radical treatment for rheumatoid arthritis involves joint replacement, which is highly invasive and involves a range of possible complications, such as stroke and heart attack. Joint replacement calls for an extensive recuperation period and complicating factors include the creation of wear particles, which are composed of tiny pieces of the materials that are part of the artificial joint. These break off through normal use of the new joint. They stay in the body and can result in bone loss, which reduces the effective life of the artificial joint.

Stem Cell Therapy

Stem Cell InjectionThe use of stem cell therapy in cases involving rheumatoid arthritis has shown promising results. Stem cells, which are derived from the patient’s bone marrow and are combined with growth factors found in their plasma, offer a natural type of treatment. The extraction of the cells and plasma can be done quickly and painlessly with little to no risk to the patient. Once the specific elements needed, the stem cells and plasma, are separated from the extracted fluids, they are combined. Once they are mixed together, they may be injected into the problem area.

Stem cells have been shown to aid in the growth of healthy cartilage, accelerate the body’s natural healing process, and help reduce inflammation. This treatment, which has been used for more than a decade, is less invasive, involves fewer side effects, and is considered to be overall safer than other medical methods, including joint replacement.

Additional Treatments

As the conditions related to rheumatoid arthritis begin to subside, patients may begin to exercise in order to strengthen muscles and encourage joint lubrication. A common form of exercise for these patients is swimming due to the fact that it is low- impact, allows for extended movement, and can be effective in stimulating healing blood flow.

Finding Relief

If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, you may find relief through stem cell therapy. Such treatment is designed to allow a patient to heal naturally, as it eschews the use of drugs. The focus is on improving and/or eliminating the arthritis and the associated effects, which include swelling, pain, and fatigue. With improvement, patients experience greater mobility and can begin to enjoy a quality of life that is much improved.

×