What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common cause of dementia in the United States. One in 10 Americans over the age of 65 has Alzheimer’s disease. The cause of this debilitating dementia condition is unknown. Recent research has shown the build up of proteins called amyloid in the brain is strongly associated with Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s destroys memory and cognition and is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. New treatments targeting this protein are being developed but are not yet available. Although we are still learning, early results of stem cell therapy for Alzheimer’s Disease are encouraging. Innovations Medical offers stem cell therapy for patients with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other cognitive conditions.
What are the Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease?
Memory Loss. Memory loss is of the best-known and recognizable signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Failure to remember important dates or life events, depending on notes and other memory aids, and the inability to remember recently learned information are signs of diminished memory. Alzheimer’s disease patients frequently misplaced items and may accuse others of stealing when they cannot find things. Other signs of Alzheimer’s Disease include:
- Difficulty solving problems, working with numbers or following instructions. In addition, some individuals experience a lack of focus and difficulty in completing tasks.
- Many people with Alzheimer’s forget what time it is. Not just the time on the clock, but what season or year it is. They tend to focus on what is happening at the present. This means they also very often forget where they are and how they got there.
- Conversations become difficult for some individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. At times they may forget what they were talking about or repeat what they just said. Alzheimer’s patients often forget the names of common objects, which may make them feel confused or embarrassed.
- Some Alzheimer’s patients experience changes in their mood. They may go from happy to very angry or very sad quickly. These changes in mood often accompany changes in judgment or withdrawal from activities and social gatherings.
What Causes Alzheimer’s Disease?
The exact cause is unknown. Some individuals have a genetic tendency toward early Alzheimer’s Disease. These individuals can start seeing symptoms in their early 50’s. There is also evidence linking brain injury earlier in life to Alzheimer’s Disease later on. Disease of the blood vessels of the brain with small or “micro” strokes also has an association. Many individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease appear to have multiple or mixed causes. The build of a protein called amyloid in the brain is strongly associated with Alzheimer’s Disease. Currently, the tests available for early detection of amyloid in the brain are too expensive for widespread use. More affordable tests are being developed.
What Can Stem Cell Therapy Do for Alzheimer’s Disease?
The amyloid build-up described above is toxic to brain cells and results in inflammation. Stem cell therapy can help reduce this inflammation of the brain. Stem cells also have powerful immunomodulatory properties, which means they can reset the immune system to working normally once again. These factors may help slow the progression and even reverse the effects of the disease in some individuals. Stem cells from fat have helped some patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Family members in particular notice the improvement in memory and daily function. It is often the family that notice it is time to repeat a stem cell deployment. Some data suggests that early treatment may be more effective, but this is not certain at this time. See our blogs regarding what are stem cells What are Stem Cells? and adult stem cells Understanding Adipose-Derived Stem Cells
Good Candidates for Stem Cell Therapy for Alzheimer’s Disease
Most Alzheimer’s patients who are medically stable enough to come into the office are potential candidates for stem cell therapy. We believe that “the earlier the better” in Alzheimer’s patients. Active cancer or major infection would prevent an Alzheimer’s patient from having stem cell therapy. Anticoagulants (blood thinners) are better to stop for 2-4 days around the procedure. However, blood thinners often can be used with caution. Most other medications are safe for the procedure.
Cost of Stem Cell Treatments
The cost of the initial treatment ranges from $5,000 to $10,000. The range in cost is dependent on the complexity of delivering the cells back to you. For example, spine conditions require multiple physicians to deliver the cells back to your body and this requires an increase in cost as multiple doctors are involved in the procedure. For many people the initial treatment is all that is needed; however, for some conditions, subsequent treatments may be required and these are done at a reduced fee.