Trichy: A 26-year-old brain stroke patient was cured through stem cell therapy by Mumbai-based Neurogen Brain and Spine Institute.
Addressing mediapersons here recently, the institute’s deputy director, Dr Nandini Gokilchandran, claimed this to be the first-of-its-kind surgery. The patient, D Chandru from Trichy, said in April 2009 he had weakness in his left hands and legs for a few minutes. “A series of investigations like MRI, blood work up were done but everything came out to be normal. I was still hospitalised when the doctor, after a couple of days, asked me to consult a neurologist, who then asked me to get an EEG done. It was so unfortunate that I got my stroke attack in the wee hours of 9 April 2009,” he said.
Chandru said he looked out for various options but from all the sources, rehabilitation and medicines was the answer he received for his condition. “Finally, I came to know about Neurogen Brain and Spine Institute through their website and established contact with them,” he said. He underwent stem cell therapy along with a customised rehabilitation programme.
Nandini said Chandru improved a lot after four months of the therapy, with his upper limb activity completely improved, shoulder movement range increased and also other activities. Nandini said till recently, it was believed that brain damage was irreversible.
“However, now, with emerging research, we understand that it is possible to repair the damaged brain tissue using cell therapy. Again, today there are still many people in India who have not preserved their stem cells through cord blood banks. For all those patients, who have lost hopes in finding a new treatment for neurological-related disorders, adult stem cell therapy offers new hope,” she said.
To a question, she said the stem cells are taken from patient’s own bone marrow with the help of a needle and injected back in their spinal fluid after processing. Since they are taken from the patient’s own body, there is no rejection, no side-effects. Hence, it makes stem cell therapy a completely safe procedure. She further said stroke was one of the leading causes of death and disability in India and worldwide. “Stroke is a lifestyle disease with no known cause but risk factors are obesity, high blood pressure, known cardiac disorders, high cholesterol and family history. ‘Two out of every 1,000 Indians suffer from stroke,” Nandini said.
The deputy director of the institute said signs and symptoms of brain stroke are visible within several minutes and can persist over years. “If it is treated in time, many of the symptoms can be reversed. Delayed treatment or massive damage leads to permanent disability,” she added.