Ataxia is a medical condition caused by lack of muscle coordination, the loss of balance and physical coordination can lead to difficulties in walking, balance, swallowing, speech, eye movement, and other voluntary movement.
Inherited ataxia, such as spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA) and Friedreich’s ataxia (FRDA), is caused by genetic defect inherited from either or both parents. Non-inherited ataxia may be developed due to brain surgery, head injury, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, brain tumor, exposure to toxic chemicals, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and some other neurological condition, and malformation of the cerebellum while the baby is still in the womb.
Number of conventional treatments are available for ataxia, they mostly focus on easing symptoms, and help patient attain as much independence as possible with the use of adaptive devices. However, they do not treat the neurological dysfunction caused by cell degeneration. Stem cells can regenerate and replace the damaged cells in the body, helping ataxia patient improve the quality of life by reducing/reversing the symptoms.
Learn about our treatment for ataxia from Riaan, our patient from South Africa.
The purpose of our stem cell treatment is to restore neurological function in the brain/spinal cord lesion area, thus, various kinds of improvement are possible after our treatment and our past patients have experienced the following*:
It is important to remember that improvements experienced by patients diagnosed with hereditary ataxias may not be permanent, as stem cell treatments do not currently have any influence on the genetic origin of these specific types of ataxia. In such cases, periodic treatments may be required to keep a stable condition. Finally, as for any medical treatment, improvements cannot be guaranteed.
Since 2007, we have developed comprehensive stem cell therapy program for ataxia to overcome the limitation of conventional therapies. In addition to stem cell injections, supportive therapies such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, acupuncture, aquatic therapy and many other treatments are also provided. The treatment program is customized in accordance with each patient’s condition and particular need in improving. The combination of these extensive therapies showed significance in improving ataxia patient’s condition and quality of life.
Epidural stimulation has helped previous patients to regain some voluntary motor function. The technology consists of a device implanted in the epidural space which continuously delivers electric signals to the spinal cord. These electric signals mimic the ones that are delivered by the brain to voluntarily control the body’s movements. The epidural stimulation device is provided by Medtronic.
The Nerve growth factor (NGF) is a member of the neurotrophic factor (neurotrophin, NTFS) family, which can prevent the death of nerve cells and has many features of typical neurotransmitter molecules. NGF plays an important role in the development and growth of nerve cells. NGF is synthesized and secreted by tissues (corneal epithelial, endothelial, and corneal stromal cells), and it can be up-taken by sympathetic or sensory nerve endings and then transported to be stored in neuronal cell bodies where it can promote the growth and differentiation of nerve cells.
NGF can exert neurotrophic effects on injured nerves and promote neurogenesis (the process of generating neurons from stem cells) that is closely related to the development and functional maintenance and repair of the central nervous system. It is also capable of promoting the regeneration of injured neurons in the peripheral nervous system, improving the pathology of neurons and protecting the nerves against hypoxia (lack of oxygen)/ischemia (lack of blood supply).
Acupuncture is a therapy in which thin needles are used to penetrate the skin at various depths in order to stimulate specific locations in the body. The insertion sites are called ‘acupuncture points’ and allow to simultaneously stimulate muscles, nerves and connective tissues. There are over 350 acupuncture points positioned on 12 meridians (pathways) throughout the body. Stimulation of these points activates the body’s natural painkillers as well as increasing blood flow. This is highly beneficial for stem cell patients as it increases movement of natural immune cells, anti-inflammatory cells and key nutrients, thereby accelerating recovery.
Aquatic Physical Therapy is the practice of physical therapy in a specifically designed water pool with a therapist. The unique properties of the aquatic environment enhance interventions for patients with neurological or musculoskeletal conditions. Aquatic therapy includes a wide range of techniques allowing patients to improve their balance, muscle strength and body mechanics. Aquatic therapy works to enhance the rehabilitation process and support effectiveness of stem cell treatment.
During a TMS session, an electromagnetic coil is placed against your scalp. The electromagnet painlessly delivers a magnetic pulse that stimulates nerve cells in the region of your brain involved in the patient’s medical condition, supporting recovery of the relating functions.
All body’s tissues need an adequate supply of oxygen to function properly. When tissues are injured, they require even more oxygen to survive. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy increases the amount of oxygen the blood can carry, allowing to restore normal levels of blood gases which in turns promote general tissue function. Optimal blood oxygen levels also then support the development of stem cells as well as survival of the newly generated cells.
Physical therapy or physiotherapy (often abbreviated to PT) is a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialty that, by using mechanical force and movements, remediates impairments and promotes mobility, function, and quality of life through examination, diagnosis, prognosis, and physical intervention. We combine our PT with stem cells for maximum physical rehabilitation improvements.
Occupational therapy interventions focus on adapting the environment, modifying the task and teaching the skill, in order to increase participation in and performance of daily activities, particularly those that are meaningful to the patient with physical, mental, or cognitive disorders. Our Occupational Therapists also focus much of their work on identifying and eliminating environmental barriers to independence and participation in daily activities, similar to everyday life.
Medical nutritiontherapy (MNT) is a therapeutic approach to treat medical conditions and their associated symptoms via the use of a specifically tailored diet devised and monitored by a specialist. The therapy aims at fixing nutritional deficiencies and physiological imbalances in order to provide the best environment possible for the stem cells to develop properly as well as improving patient’s general health.