Stem cells 'help' stroke patients

14 June 2012 Last updated at 07:25 ET By Eleanor Bradford BBC Scotland Health Correspondent

The first patients to take part in a clinical trial of a stem cell treatment for stroke have seen reductions in their disability, according to doctors.

Six patients in the west of Scotland had human stem cells inserted close to the damaged part of their brain.

After receiving the treatment, they saw improvements in the limb weakness they suffered as a result of their stroke.

Howeve, doctors have cautioned against reading too much into the early results of the clinical trial.

It is the world's first trial of a neural stem cell therapy for stroke.

Stroke is the third largest cause of death and the single largest cause of adult disability in the developed world.

The trial is being conducted at the Institute of Neurological Sciences at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow, and is being led by Glasgow University neurologist Professor Keith Muir.

He said: "So far we've seen no evidence of any harmful effects. We're dealing with a group of people a long time after a stroke with significant disability and we don't really expect these patients to show any change over time.

"So it's interesting to see that in all the patients so far they have improved slightly over the course of their involvement in the study."

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Stem cells 'help' stroke patients

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