Stem Cells: What Are They and Are They Right for You?
Stem Cells are the subject of much research and excitement right now, as a part of the field of regenerative medicine. A stem cell is a cell that has the potential to become many types of cells. A pluripotent stem cell could become any type of tissue in the body. Pluripotent stem cells can only come from embryos. A multipotent stem cell can become many types of cells but is more limited than a pluripotent stem cell. Multipotent stem cells can come from adults or from umbilical cord blood (CBSCs or cord blood stem cells). There are advantages to using CBSCs due to their youth, energy, health and greater potential in terms of types of possible differentiation. Also, the CBSCs are blind to HLA type, meaning they do not need to match a specific blood type or HLA type to work. CBSCs are obtained without harm to mother or baby from tissue that would normally be discarded. They are extensively tested to be sure they are safe. You may read about stem cells that form specific cell lines, such as hematopoietic stem cells that form the cell lines in bone marrow and create blood elements or mesenchymal stem cells that form connective tissue, bone, cartilage, muscle and fat.
What do stem cells do? They integrate into already existing tissues and structures and provide a source of new cells and a source of new stem cells as some will divide and differentiate to become a type of tissue and some will simply divide and continue to be a line of stem cells. In addition, they provide growth factors, which help to direct your own native stem cells and help with healing. Stem cells are known to home to areas of injury and inflammation, so a primary use of stem cells is to assist in healing muscle, tendon, bone and joint injuries and inflammation. Stem cells are also known to increase vascularity and circulation in tissues and speed up healing. This makes stem cells ideal for use in erectile dysfunction and for atrophic vaginitis (vaginal dryness) and female anorgasmia (lack of or decline in orgasms) and urinary incontinence. Stem cells also appear to “balance” the immune system and have been used to improve autoimmune disorders. Although stem cells are not considered a cure for anything, they are used in many situations for improvement and enhancement.
Some of the conditions stem cells have been used for are osteoarthritis, joint pain, tendon injuries, bone injuries (fractures), erectile dysfunction, atrophic vaginitis (vaginal dryness), female anorgasmia (lack of or decline in orgasm), skin burns, facial rejuvenation, scalp/hair rejuvenation, general anti-aging, and athletic enhancement. Stem cells have been used for many degenerative diseases such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), lupus, Parkinson’s disease, autism, stroke, brain injury, diabetes, vasculitis, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, myasthenia gravis, scleroderma, muscular dystrophy, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome and psoriatic arthritis.
Are stem cells right for you? Come in for a consultation to discuss what benefits you might derive from a stem cell treatment!
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