Doctors may have made a revolutionary breakthrough in the way we treat stroke patients. Patients in the trial study regained the ability to talk, walk and live normal lives, all thanks to a stem cell treatment.
The treatment is thought to be effective because it triggers the regeneration of brain circuits damaged during a stroke. Scientists at Stanford University performed the procedure on 18 patients. Nearly half showed “clinically meaningful” results, meaning their lifestyles significantly improved.
One trial patient who relied on a wheelchair just took up jogging. Another patient who was completely paralyzed, apart from her left thumb, regained the ability to walk. This was despite a long gap between the stroke and the treatment.
It was previously thought once the brain is damaged, it doesn’t recover. Scientists involved in the study now believe that isn’t true. Researchers are now recruiting 156 chronic stroke patients for a trial to prove it works. Other scientists caution it will be several years before this treatment can be proven effective and expanded beyond the trial.