Bangalore’s BGS Global Hospital claims to have successfully used transplanted bone marrow stem cells to reactivate brain cells.
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Madhumalika, 27, suffered a ‘diffuse axonal brain injury‘ after a “road accident” on December 14, 2008. Due to the severity of her head trauma, Madhumalika was in a coma for more than three months and had been given a 20 percent chance of survival. Diffuse axonal injuries are one of the most common types of traumatic brain injuries (TBI). They tend to affect a larger portion of the brain, and are one of the leading causes of death in those with a TBI.
“The patient was suffering from altered sensorium, severe cognitive dysfunction and lack of movement in limbs. Following the surgery, she has now regained full consciousness, memory, communication abilities and purposive movements in limbs,” N K Venkataramana, Chief neurosurgeon of BGS Hospitals, told reporters.
According to Venkataramana, this was the first procedure of its kind in India and only the second in the world. China made the first attempt, but if they showed similar results, they have stayed pretty quiet about it. (There are studies, such as this one and this one performed on rats, showing different types of brain injuries improving with stem cell transplants.)
A month after transplanting more than four million stem cells into the patient’s brain, Madhumalika regained her ability to talk, move her limbs, and recognize her family and friends.
Dramatic results? We think so! However, as with any new procedures, it’s smart to watch for further tests and examples of its effectiveness. There is very little data available at this point, and until more extensive research is provided, we curbing our excitement.
Venkataramana says that Madhumalika’s recovery has proven that brain injuries are curable, “Since 2004, there has been a pressing need to help the rising number of people who were disabled following road accidents. Stem cell therapy was one of the means to face the situation,” he said. He also notes that there are plans for a pilot study in the future.
We will be keeping our eyes open for more developments ‘the potential for a ‘brain injury cure’, while sounding almost too good to be true, is worth watching.
Image from here.