A cure for neurological disorders

Eight-year-old Narayana with his mother D. Sampoorna Laxmi.–Photo: M. Sai Gopal

Eight-year-old Narayana with his mother D. Sampoorna Laxmi.–Photo: M. Sai Gopal  


Stem cell therapy helps in treating cerebral palsy, autism, muscular dystrophy. The youngsters' IQ tests have improved, mentally they are improving.

Eight-year-old Narayana listens to his mother intently trying to understand what she says and raises his hands. For many of us, raising a hand as a gesture is as mundane as breathing air. However, for the parents of the youngster, who suffers from spastic cerebral palsy, it is indeed a big step. In fact, the parents beam with pride whenever they detect a hint of recognition in his eyes or as he waves hand when asked to do so.

Marked improvement

“Till last year, he could not even stand, walk or make an eye contact.

There was a lot of stiffness in his body because of the ailment and he could not even communicate.

Now, however, there’s marked improvement like he is able to stand, make eye contact, understand what we tell him and the stiffness has started to reduce,” says Sampoorna Laxmi, his mother.

There are numerous potential medical applications of stem cells and research in the last decade has identified several fields of medicine that could potentially benefit from it. Researchers believe that the stem cell technology could well hold the key to unravel treatment modalities for neurological disorders like cerebral palsy, autism and muscular dystrophy.

Narayana underwent stem cell therapy at a Mumbai-based facility Neurogen Brain and Spine Institute (NBSI) in November, 2014 and another in August, 2015. “Subsequent PET scans of his brain have shown remarkable improvement.

The youngster’s IQ tests have improved, mentally he is improving and his stiffness, a symptom of cerebral palsy has improved,” says Dr. Alok Srivastav, Director NBSI.

However, can stem cells completely cure neurological disorders or it’s just beneficial for management of symptoms?

“We have not yet reached that stage of complete treatment. I would say it would take a few more years of research in this field to get a cure. However, management of children who are autistic, cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy is now possible. They can definitely lead a better life instead of remaining quadriplegic,” says Dr. Alok.

The therapy basically involves collecting stem cells from patient’s own bone marrow and injecting the same into the spinal fluid after processing. The idea is to allow or give a chance for stem cells to rejuvenate the affected organ, in this case the brain. To make the therapy more effective, the stem cells are injected near the brain and spinal chord, so that they can travel faster and improve the repairing mechanism.

“I used to give Narayana physiotherapy sessions to reduce the stiffness in the body. Other than the symptomatic treatment, there is no other treatment modality aimed at repairing the brain damage. I came across this novel therapy and convinced his parents to take up this treatment. The results are amazing,” says Narayana’s physiotherapist Aarthi, from Durgabhai Deshmukh Hosptial.

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 12:13:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/a-cure-for-neurological-disorders/article7816502.ece

Next Story