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Motor neuron disease (MND) is a group of diseases that gradually and progressively damages the motor nerves in the brain and spine, resulting in loss of their function over time. Also known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), it is a rare neurodegenerative disease. MND occurs when specialized nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, called motor neurons, stop working properly. This leads to muscle weakness, and hampers important muscle activities, such as gripping, walking, speaking, swallowing, and breathing. Let’s understand the stem cell treatment for MND.

Understanding Motor neuron disease (MND)

Motor Neuron diseases are a rare but severe form of neurodegenerative disease that cause the motor nerves in the spine and brain to lose function over a span of time, due to a combination of environmental, lifestyle, and genetic factors. 

Normally, messages or signals from nerve cells in the brain are transmitted to nerve cells in the brainstem and spinal cord, and from them to the muscles in the body. When the muscles cannot receive signals from the lower motor neurons, they begin to weaken and shrink in size or might also begin to spontaneously twitch. Over time, individuals with MNDs may lose the ability to walk or control other movements. The two main types of motor neurons are upper motor neurons (UMN) and lower motor neurons (LMN).

MND Symptoms

Being a progressive disease, the symptoms of Motor neuron Disease usually start slow and worsen over time. The symptoms are divided into three stages – early, middle and advanced. The progression of the disease varies in speed and severity from person to person. The specific symptoms depend on the type of MND and the area of body that it affects.

Signs and symptoms in the early stage:

  • Weakened grip, making it difficult to hold and pick up objects
  • Muscle pain, cramps, and twitching
  • Weakness in arms and legs, leading to clumsiness and stumbling
  • Fatigue
  • Slurred speech and difficulty swallowing
  • Breathing trouble
  • Weight loss due to loss of muscle mass
  • Inappropriate emotional responses

Signs and symptoms in the middle stage:

  • Shrinking of muscles
  • Joint pain
  • Difficulty in movement
  • Drooling and problems with swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Changes in personality and emotional states
  • Memory and language problems

Signs and symptoms in the advanced stage:

  • Little or no movement
  • Trouble talking and swallowing
  • Severe breathing problems
  • May develop dementia
  • Some people may also experience insomnia, anxiety, and depression

As the condition progresses, the symptoms become more severe. Persons with extremely advanced MND symptoms need assistance in carrying out basic functions. The disease can become life-threatening. This disease can become life-threatening and can be fatal if the individual also has breathing problems.

MND Diagnosis

It is often difficult to diagnose motor neuron diseases in their early stages as the symptoms may seem similar to other conditions, such as Multiple Sclerosis

A neurologist examines the person thoroughly by running a series of tests before determining MND, some of which are:

  • Blood and urine tests
  • MRI scan
  • EMG (electromyography) and NCS (nerve conduction study)
  • Muscle biopsy
  • Lumbar puncture or spinal tap

MND Treatment

The condition of the prognosis varies, depending on the patient’s type of MND and the age of symptom onset. Supportive and symptomatic treatment can surely help the people affected by this disease feel more comfortable while maintaining a reasonable quality of life. One can take assistance from multidisciplinary clinics consisting of specialists from varied departments such as neurology, physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and respiratory therapy. These specialized departments help create a safe and comforting environment for individuals who suffer from MND and provide much-needed medical support from the onset till the progression phase of the disease. 

Stem cell therapy for MND

Stem Cell Therapy is a potent approach for treating MND and its vitalizing effects, both paracrine and somatic, along with ease of availability make a very strong case for using these cells for therapeutic purposes. This treatment helps to improve the repairing mechanism of diseased, dysfunctional, or injured tissue with the help of stem cells. It is proven to mitigate symptoms, slow the progression of the disease, improve the quality of life and increase survival. 

Stem cell treatment involves a process where stem cells are grown in a lab and manipulated to specialize into specific types of cells with specific functions. These specialized cells are then implanted into the person who requires the treatment. These stem cells help fight neurodegeneration and have the capacity to self-renew, regenerate the cell, and repair the damaged tissue. The advantage of stem cell therapy for motor neuron diseases is that the beneficial effects of this therapy do not just affect the cells, but are also beneficial to trophic interventions. Apart from mitigating the symptoms of traumatic injuries, autoimmune, inflammatory, neurological, and orthopedic diseases, it also helps to reduce inflammation and delay its progression.

FAQs

Can stem cells cure motor neuron disease?

Stem cells in stem cell therapy are beneficial in managing the symptoms, slowing down the progression of the disease, and generally improving the quality of life of those with MND. Disease treatment in India, if done on time, can generally always be safe and effective.

What is the best treatment for motor neuron disease?

A combination of medications and various types of therapies can prove to be quite effective in the treatment of Motor neuron diseases. Effective therapies include stem cell therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech therapy, and respiratory therapy.

How close are they to finding a cure for MND?

There is no definitive cure for Motor Neuron Diseases just as yet. However, researchers are hoping to find a cure for MND within the next decade.

How are stem cells used to treat motor neuron disease?

Stem cells used in stem cell treatment help to repair damaged cells and fight neurodegeneration. After being implanted in the body, stem cells help to self-renew and regenerate the damaged cells. With the help of this process, stem cells eventually help to slow down the progression of the disease and improve the quality of life.

What is the cost of stem cell therapy in India?

The cost of stem cell therapy depends on the type of transplant. The cost of stem cell therapy for the treatment of MND in India may vary from 4 to 6 lakhs. 

If you’re looking for the best treatment for MND, one of the new MND treatments on the block is surely Stem Cell Therapy. Dr. Na’eem Sadiq (Founder of Plexus in Bangalore and Hyderabad) is a well-renowned neurologist and stem cell specialist in Bangalore. With more than 32 years of experience in Clinical Neurophysiology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Stem Cell Therapy, and Neurology, Dr. Na’eem has a team of doctors that can help you find the perfect treatment for your diseases.

Reference Links:

https://www.eurostemcell.org/motor-neuron-disease-how-could-stem-cells-help

https://www.intechopen.com/chapters/69052

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3154698/

Dr Na'eem Sadiq is a respected stem cell specialist at Plexus, and a prominent neurologist in Bangalore. He studied neurology and clinical neurophysiology in London, and worked with some of the most prestigious medical institutions in England, and the Middle East. He completed his MBBS at Bellary Government Medical College, and a postgraduate degree in psychiatry from NIMHANS in Bangalore.

Dr Na'eem has perfected his knowledge and expertise in Continuing medical education (CME), and training in tissue culture, Stem Cell Therapy, and neurology. Dr Na'eem Sadiq possesses an undying passion to improve people’s lives. This led to the creation of Plexus, a neuro and Stem Cell Research centre in Bangalore in neurosurgery, and neurorehabilitation.