Secrets of Stem Cells in Multiple Sclerosis Treatment

Multiple Sclerosis is a disorder in which a persons own immune mechanisms attack the nervous system(myelin sheath of the nerve cells is inflamed) and leads to disability, blindness and sometimes even paralysis. This was first identified as a disease as far back as 1860s; nevertheless the exact reason for this disease is still a mystery. There are several factors that are thought to actually contribute to the disease, which changes itself as different symptoms that can show as so minor and are not recognized, and most often they can leave a person fully disabled or dead.

Several people around the globe suffer from this disease, doctors and researchers are in the process of finding out the reason for this disease. But more importance is given in finding out a cure. Recently a treatment called as stem cell therapy, has received a lot of attention from the scientific world.There is a lot of research on stem cells its cure, which are showing amazing results.

Recent technological advancement in stem cell research has shown that it is possible to reverse the symptoms of multiple sclerosis with stem cells replacement. As this is still in the laboratory stage some measure of success has been achieved in independent studies conducted at several independent Universities and Research Centers.

In this therapy, stem cells are introduced into the patient’s body. Stem cells are naive (immature) cells which can be extracted from the placenta. They have the ability to form into many several types of cells like skin, bone, eye cells etc., As these are injected into the body they start secreting a growth factor, and these growth factors form new blood cells in the blood vessels.Which are healthy and active, they replace the diseased cells in the patient. These new cells keep on increasing in number until disease causing cells are completely replaced with the healthy cells. This process is far better than any painful surgery or chemotherapy or radio therapy. Furthermore this treatment is cost effective when compared to other treatments and is safe in all the ways, as the patients own stem cells are used in most of the cases i.e they are removed from the patient’s own bone marrow are then injected back into the blood stream.

One of the drawbacks of this treatment is that this technology is not accessible in all parts of the globe mostly in developed countries. One has to travel any one of these countries for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

While the results from this therapy are impressive, the treatment of multiple sclerosis with stem cells is still in its early stages and much research needs to be held. Researchers are in the process to confirm, if the immune system can actually be completely reset or if it is suppressed as a chronic condition. We should be very optimistic that this type of therapy will help those patients in the advanced stages.

All About Multiple Sclorosis

Introduction to Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis is known to affect more than 250,000 people world wide and 400,000+ people in the United States of America alone! This disease affects more women than men, and most people show the first signs of this degenerative disease between 20 to 40 years of ages.

A chronic and potentially incapacitating disease, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) affects the central nervous system or the brain and spinal cord areas in your body. Believed to be an autoimmune disorder, MS is a condition where the patient’s immune system produces antibodies against their own body.

These antibodies and WBCs (White blood corpuscles) are then directed against proteins in the “myelin” sheath. The myelin sheath is made up of fatty substance that protects the nerve fibers in the spinal cord and brain. This attack usually results in injury and swelling to the myelin sheath and ultimately to the surrounding nerves. The injury leads to scarring or sclerosis in multiple areas of the central immune system, thus damaging the nerve signals and control muscle coordination as well as vision, and strength.

The nature of it is unpredictable and it can vary in severity from person to person. While some people experience only mild illness, it can lead to permanent disability in many others. Treatments for MS can help in modifying the course of this illness while relieving symptoms as well.

Signs and Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

The signs and symptoms are wide and varied. More often than not, they depend on the area where nerve fibers have been affected. Some of the common symptoms of it include:

– Feeling of weakness or numbness in one or both limbs. The feeling usually starts on one side of the body or begins in the bottom half of the body.

– Full or partial loss of vision, typically starts with one eye at a time accompanied by some pain when making eye movement

– Blurring of vision or experiencing double vision

– A tingling or painful sensation in some parts of the body

– Experience of tremor, inability to walk straight, or lack of proper coordination

– Dizziness

– Fatigue

– Muscle stiffness or spastic movement

– Slurred Speech

– Full or Partial paralysis

– Issues with bowel, bladder or sexual functions

– Forgetfulness/memory loss

– Lack of concentration

Types of Multiple Sclerosis

There are 3 forms of multiple sclerosis:

Relapsing-remitting MS: Almost 80% people are affected by this type of MS. There are visible relapses with some amount of recovery in between.

Secondary progressive MS: Technically secondary progressive MS is a form of progressive MS, but chances of relapse are mainly in early-to-mid stages. There is slow and regular loss of cognitive and physical functions. 50% of those who suffer from relapsing remitting MS develop this type of within 10 years of diagnosis.

Primary progressive MS: There are no relapses in this type of multiple sclerosis. However, there is loss of cognitive and physical functions over a period of time. About 10% people are affected by this type of it.

© CG Groth Inc 2007

Multiple Sclerosis, Fitness and You

Disclaimer: I am not in any way involved with any of the programs mentioned nor do I sell, benefit financially or in any other way from talking about my experience with them.

So, yes, I am an MS patient and I went through an extreme workout program with amazing results. So can you, no matter what your fitness level is.

I strongly believe that a fitness program that works on all aspects of your fitness (such as strength, balance, flexibility, co-ordination, breathing and cardio) can only be beneficial for you. No matter if you are someone with an impairment or if you are very fit to start with. The added help with nutrition and explanations about it to make it a really complete program is just the sugar on top. Specially since it directly works against the most frustrating aspects an MS patient has to deal with.

Who told MS patients they are not supposed to work out anyway? Who says you can’t do an extreme program? There are 70 year old people doing P90X, people that were over 300 pounds. Obviously people come in all shapes and sizes and with all different kind of conditions. So what makes it hard for an MS patient to try to exercise?

  • Lack of Energy and MS fatigue
  • general muscle weakness
  • stress levels can trigger a relapse
  • specific impairments in movements
  • balance problems
  • overheating

Guess what, all of those I was struggling with myself. The worst being balance, weakness in my arms and legs and MS fatigue and chronic pain in my bladder. Now lets take a look at the average guy interested in fitness:

  • they are quite often complaining about low energy and lack thereof
  • a lot of people ask for help with specific problems such as knee and back issues, having to recover from an accident or operation, have conditions such as IBS or other hard to cure illnesses.
  • Lots of people have to stick to specific diets or are allergic to certain foods
  • People are notoriously inflexible and even quite fit people hardly ever focus on flexibility or do Yoga

Now lets compare: Both groups will have to modify and be careful about their workouts and nutrition. An MS patient has to be specifically careful to not overdo any kind of exercise to not trigger a relapse due to stress. That is the most important difference between the two groups and both are facing the task to adjust any kind of program accordingly.

People with herniated discs, general back problems, knee problems, shoulder problems, all of them have to modify their exercise routine accordingly, much like MS patients.

Which brings me back to my initial point: You can use any program even something extreme and adjust it to your level and needs. Specially with a program which is very complete and incorporates every single aspect that is helpful for an MS patient. Moderation and listening to your body is the key. If you are in doubt ask your specialist for help and modifications.

Start slow and very carefully. I started with 1kg and 1.5kg weights. Start where you have to and rather too light then too extreme. You can take all the time in the world to work up from there. No one is pushing you and you know what’s comfortable for you and what feels ok. Forget about goals other’s have or what you think the goal of a specific program is. You set your own goals, for yourself.

Now lets talk about these specific issues again and how I tried to tackle them.

Lack of Energy and MS fatigue

I had a huge struggle with these. I felt exhausted, tired, depressed and unmotivated. On top it felt likemy head was stuffed with cotton. My eating habits were really bad and most probably directly linked to the things mentioned before. I didn’t feel like getting up a few minutes earlier to fix breakfast, specially not since I wasn’t hungry. I ate lunch and maybe something for dinner, that was pretty much it. No wonder that on top of my fatigue I also was lacking the base energy to do the simplest tasks because my eating was severely lacking and thus my whole system was slowed down. Not only did I not eat enough I was also lacking a lot of the important nutrients. I wasn’t aware of all of this until I read the nutrition guide that came with one of the programs I bought.

Changing my eating habits and switching to eating 5 times per day was the most important factor to improve my Energy.

General muscle weakness

I had to ask my boyfriend more often then not to open bottles and cans for me. Walking up stairs was very taxing and the thought of playing tennis was demotivating because I didn’t want to risk of feeling how much I lost control over my body.Yet, I started to do muscle training according to the plan. Working all muscles groups alternating throughout the week. First with very light weights but it didn’t take long until we had to go buy some new dumbbells. And I will have to do it again once I am done with my current cardio program.

Stress levels can trigger a relapse

This is a tough one and specially for MS patients the most important one. Moderate yourself and start really, really slow – rather do too little then too much. I didn’t know how far I could go or if I could do it at all when I started. You know your body best – listen to it, carefully.

Additionally, try to reduces all additional stress as much as you can. A relaxed environment is really helpful. Make your workouts and health the most important part in your life (next to your family of course). Don’t plan your workouts around your everyday life and try to squeeze it in somewhere. Organize your day around your workouts and look at them as “me time”.

Specific impairments in movements

Modify, modify, modify. There is no real difference to someone who has knee issues or someone who has an impairment because of MS. Even if you are in a wheel-chair. You can still work on your upper body strength as Cammie very nicely demonstrates in her YouTube videos.

For example, I noticed my knee problems while starting to work out. I substituted exercises which seemed to aggravate the problems with others that seemed to work the same muscle areas but in a different way. I wasn’t able to do some of the exercises at all, so I just waited and worked on other aspects and strength until I felt ready enough to give it at least a try. When I started I did most of the push-ups on my knees and stopped whenever I felt I couldn’t go further.

I listened to my body and in turn I learned more about it then I did ever before. This dedication really pays off. I can’t remember when I had to switch to my knees for push-ups. A pull-up without a chair was something completely out of the question when I started (even with chair it was tough) and now I can do three unassisted pull-ups (with much struggling on the third one). I can only do unassisted ones in reverse chin-ups. Any other variations is still totally out of the question but who cares.:)

Balance problems

Yoga was the most important contributor to how my balance and flexibility improved. It was also the hardest to go through because it was really frustrating at first. However, the harder a workout seems to be the clearer it is that you lack in exact that area and the more you will benefit from trying to push through it. It’s with going through the hardest tasks that we come out with the most improvements.

Overheating

Even though I don’t have that much problems with heat (surprisingly enough), I am using a fan to blow on my during exercising. Working out in an environment that is comfortable for you is really important.

I am not bumping into the side of doorways anymore and I can walk down a stair without any problems or fear of losing my balance. My feet don’t drop any more while walking and I can open bottles and cans on my own again and I am probably fitter then your average “healthy” person out there.

Just know, if I can, you can. If you are someone with an illness or impairment you just really need to take it slow and work your way up very carefully. But it’s possible. I know it is. Honestly, right now I have to look at my MRIs showing my old lesions and pictures from the hospital and also pull out my lumbar puncture results to make sure the diagnosis was not just a freak accident (even though the tri-weekly injections remind me mercilessly).

This will be the first upcoming MRI test where I go because it is time to check and not because I have symptoms that make it necessary to take one.

Multiple Sclerosis – Dizziness – One of the Classic Symptoms of MS

While dizziness is often considered to be one of the first symptoms of MS there is a lot of confusion when it comes to differentiating between the term dizziness and vertigo. The big problem here is that people tend to describe the feelings they have in a very subjective way and the feelings that one person is describing under these generic thoughts may not be the same as another person and in fact may not relate to dizziness in multiple sclerosis.

Indications

While dizziness in MS is definitely not the only symptom it is considered to be one of the most common symptoms and the most frequently recurring. As multiple sclerosis is the demyelinating of the tissue that surrounds and protects the brain and spinal cord the symptoms that accompany it tend alternate between exacerbations and remissions, the severity of the exacerbations also tends to vary with each episode.

While only some 5% of all patients show signs of dizziness in the early stage of diagnosis, more than 50% of all MS patients will complain of the feelings of dizziness and vertigo at some point during the disease. At the same time approximately 10% of patients experience hearing loss further exacerbating problems such as vertigo and overall feelings of dizziness.

In the patient with multiple sclerosis, dizziness is described as a feeling of lightheadedness or of feeling faint, whereas vertigo is more of a feeling that the ground is spinning or rushing up to meet you. Dizziness in multiple sclerosis is fairly common where vertigo is relatively rare in patients with MS, according to one particular study less than 20% of all MS patients suffer from vertigo.

Treatments

There are several different ways to approach treating dizziness in multiple sclerosis patients, some of which involves the use of different medications. The most common medication prescribed is Dramamine (Meclizine) the same medication given to those who suffer from motion sickness. Others like Scopoderm (a scopolamine or hyoscine) are generally administered in the form of a patch that is placed behind the ear. For those suffering with extreme levels of multiple sclerosis dizziness a course of corticosteroids may be recommended.

The most popular non drug treatment for multiple sclerosis dizziness is VRT or Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy in which the therapist works with the patient to retrain the way their brain interprets and processes the information that it receives from the vestibular system along with the sight proprioception so that the brain no is no longer affected. This particular treatment is often successful enough to enable the patient to no longer need any medical intervention to overcome their dizziness once and for all.