Stem Cells Show Promise for Stroke Recovery

Brenda Goodman HealthDay Reporter Posted: Monday, April 7, 2014, 4:00 PM

MONDAY, April 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- In an early test, researchers report they've safely injected stem cells into the brains of 18 patients who had suffered strokes. And two of the patients showed significant improvement.

All the patients saw some improvement in weakness or paralysis within six months of their procedures. Although three people developed complications related to the surgery, they all recovered. There were no adverse reactions to the transplanted stem cells themselves, the study authors said.

What's more, the researchers said, two patients experienced dramatic recoveries almost immediately after the treatments.

Those patients, who were both women, started to regain the ability to talk and walk the morning after their operations. In both cases, they were more than two years past their strokes, a point where doctors wouldn't have expected further recovery.

The results have encouraged researchers to plan larger and longer tests of the procedure, which uses stem cells cultured from donated bone marrow.

An expert who was not involved in the research called it a promising first step.

"It's a small, early human study. It takes multiple steps to get to something clinically useful, and this is a nice, early step," said Dr. Steven Cramer, clinical director of the Stem Cell Research Center at the University of California, Irvine.

The findings were to be presented Monday at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons annual meeting, in San Francisco. The results of studies presented at meetings are considered preliminary until they've been published in peer-reviewed medical journals.

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Stem Cells Show Promise for Stroke Recovery

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