All parts of the brain need to have a good blood supply to work properly. When the flow of blood is restricted or stopped, vital nutrients and oxygen cannot reach the cells in the brain and they are damaged or die.
The effects on the body depend on which part of the brain is damaged and how long the blockage remains.
A stroke can affect movement, speech, thought processes and memory. It can cause paralysis in one or more parts of the body, or loss of control of bodily functions.
About 40% of people affected by stroke will have permanent symptoms that result in them needing special care.
Many people’s symptoms improve significantly following a stroke, but only about 10% of patients recover fully.
This means that, if we want to develop a therapy to replace lost or damaged cells, we need to:
However, researchers are also examining alternative ways to use stem cells in stroke treatment.
For example, stem cell research may be used in the development of new drugs that could stimulate the brain’s own repair mechanisms, including its own stem cells, to make the new cells that are needed for recovery.
MSCs from bone marrow and cells obtained from adipose tissue have been injected into the brain or into a vein in the leg of rats with stroke-like brain damage.
In these studies, animals that received injected cells showed a decrease in the size of the damaged area of the brain compared to animals that were not given an injection.
The injected cells appear to move to the damaged area of the brain, but this is not thought to be essential for a beneficial effect since MSCs cannot make new brain cells. Instead, the researchers carrying out such studies think the injected MSCs produce and release substances that reduce inflammation and stimulate self-repair within the brain.
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