Sunday, February 25, 2007

This Just In...

I'm approaching the following story from The Hindu with optimistic skepticism, but...

Doctors treat spinal cord injury with stem cell therapy

Chennai, India Feb. 25 (PTI): Doctors at a hospital here have claimed they successfully used stem cell therapy to enable a 25-year-old man, who injured his spinal cord in a fall in July last year, to walk normally again.

Akbar Ali, who was employed by a construction company in Abu Dhabi, was injured when he fell from the fourth floor of a building.

When he was admitted to a hospital in Abu Dhabi, a plate was fitted to treat his spinal fracture, but he could not stand up on his own.

Ali was brought here by his parents in a wheelchair and admitted to the Lifeline Hospital here.

Its doctors, in collaboration with the Indo-Japanese joint venture Nichi In Centre For Regenerative Medicine (NCRA), used autologous or "own body" stem therapy in December 2006 to treat Ali who started walking on his own, Rajkumar told reporters Saturday.

Explaining the procedure, he said 100 ml of bone marrow fluid was collected from the hip bone. Stem cells were isolated and processed in NCRA using technological knowhow provided by Terunuma Hiroshi, a doctor of Tokyo's Biotherapy Institute.

Twenty-ml of the processed concentrate was injected into Ali's spinal fluid, which helped him recover, he said.

First, the optimism: Maybe someone has actually done it. Maybe there is a reliable medical treatment for spinal cord injuries. The fact that this treatment and recovery comes 8 months after the injury will give many people hope.

Now, the skepticism: The fact that this recovery comes 8 months after the injury might mean that the patient would have recovered in that time even without treatment. So far there's no reporting on his level of injury, its severity, the physical therapy he received, nor his rate of improvement. I'll be watching this to see how the story develops.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey, I hope that works out ok- I'd like to sign up to get stem cells pumped injected into my brain to make it stronger. maybe it will counteract all the beer I drank in college.



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