Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
What Is Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)?
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Gehrig’s Disease is a neurodegenerative disease that worsens progressively. It affects the brain’s nerve cells and the spinal cord. When the motor neuron cells that link the brain with the spinal cord and the body muscles begin to degenerate, it can lead to the death of these cells. Anyone suffering from this disease will cease to have any muscle movements when the motor neurons are destroyed, leading to total paralysis in the patient.
Indicators of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis:
Though at the onset of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, its symptoms may be ignored, yet as it progresses the following symptoms will be clearly seen.
- Weakness of muscles in the arms, hands, legs and speech
- Difficulty breathing and swallowing
- Muscular twitches, muscle cramping in the hands and feet
- Reduced use of arms and legs due to obvious impairment
- Slurred speech and difficulty in audibility
- Tripping over carpets, dropping things
- Unusual exhaustion felt in the arms and legs
- Uncontrollable bouts of laughter or crying
At first, the hands and feet may depict difficulty, as with walking, lifting things or doing daily things like dressing, buttoning clothes and washing. As the muscles begin to atrophy, paralysis sets in and spreads to the trunk. The patient exhibits slurred speech, leading to difficulty in swallowing, chewing, speaking and breathing. When his breathing is affected, he will need to be put on the ventilator to remain alive.
How Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis treated traditionally?
ALS can only be treated by medications and physio therapy. Rilutek (riluzole) halts any further damage to the nerve cells that glutamate stirs up. Motor movements and the patient’s survival improve with this drug. For stiffness in the throat and limbs, Baclofen is prescribed. To retard muscle atrophy, nutritional supplements can be given. If the patient is depressed, antidepressants can be given. Physio therapy aids in enhancing blood circulation and prolonging the use of muscles at the onset of ALS.
How Stem Cells Therapy Treats Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis?
Stem cells are those cells that can easily differentiate into the cells of different organs where their need arises. This means that stem cells can evolve into cells of the brain, heart, muscle, organ, tissue or cartilage and so to treat many complex diseases such as Amyotrophic Lateral SclerosisStem cell therapy is at the heart of a new field of science and medicine called regenerative medicine.
Since stem cells have the unique ability to renew themselves and give rise to generations of cells with different degrees of differentiation, the use of this therapy becomes extremely encouraging and promising for those who suffer with debilitating diseases. They also replace damaged cells in different body parts without any risk of being rejected and without causing any side effects.