Medical Science: Can Dental Stem Cells Help Stroke Patients In The Future?

By June 12, 2014Blog

Stroke is considered as the second leading cause of death in the world with millions of individuals suffering from it. According to the World Heart Federation, over six million individuals die from stroke, and it has left five million individuals permanently disabled.

With the increasing risk of developing this dreaded disease, especially in developed countries, scientists and medical researchers are rushing to find a cure for stroke. One of the latest breakthroughs is research being conducted at the University of Adelaide and deals with the isolation of dental stem cells.

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Types of stroke

A stroke happens when oxygen is suddenly cut off from the brain resulting in brain cells dying. There are two major types of strokes.

Ischemic stroke

When a blood clot occurs and blocks the bloodstream reducing oxygen flow to the brain – this is called as “ischemic stroke.”

Hemorrhagic stroke

The other type of stroke is the “hemorrhagic stroke” which happens when blood vessels in the brain breaks and covers the spaces in the brain with blood thus reducing oxygen flow to the brain.

Strategies to help stroke patients

To help stroke patients, medical teams or doctors would inject drugs to relieve pressure in the brain.

Some patients, on the other hand, will undergo surgical procedures such as angioplasty to widen the artery and allow blood and oxygen to flow to the brain.

As the window of opportunity is limited, patients’ recovery rates with little or no disability are relatively rare, and some have to undergo stroke therapy to regain their mobility.

How dental stem cells can help stroke patients

Conducted by the University of Adelaide Centre for Stem Cell Research, a team of medical researchers has isolated adult dental cells and placed these cells to stroke-infected rats. The dental pulp stem cell is said to have the capacity to grow into brain-like cells.

Preliminary data shows positive results from the stroke-affected rats with researchers observing improvement in mobility of the animal patients.

The use of stem cells in the medical field has long been controversial with the high probability of tissue rejection and difficulty in obtaining stem cells from the patient’s organ. However, with the recent innovation in the medical industry, many have relied on it as a possible treatment.

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