When we are handed an ALS diagnosis, our first reaction is despair and a feeling that life is running away from us. We start to think that the end is near and all but give up on the life we are living today.
BUT… at Plexus, we believe that ALS can be stalled, its symptoms can be managed, and life can look up again!
Spearheaded by internationally acclaimed neurologist and stem cell specialist, Dr. Na’eem Sadiq, Plexus brings you the best treatment for ALS – a regenerative rehabilitation program. This is a holistic approach that is a combination of physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, stem cell therapy, and other treatments that will give you a renewed sense of hope and elevate your quality of life.
In this blog, we’ll help you understand just how effective, safe, and risk-free stem cell therapy for ALS can be.
What is ALS?
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neuromuscular disease that attacks motor nerve cells in the brain (upper motor neurons) and spinal cord (lower motor neurons). In its initial stages, it causes loss of motor control. However, as the disease advances, it leads to motor impairment.
Stage-wise symptoms of ALS
The earliest symptoms of ALS are:
- Deterioration of muscle in arms and legs resulting in impairment
- Uncontrollable periods of crying or laughter
- Inability to perform simple everyday tasks
- Loss of motor control (in hands and arms)
- Dropping things (due to lack of motor control)
- Weakness and fatigue
- Tripping and falling
- Slurred speech
- Difficulty in speaking (voice-projection troubles)
- Cognitive and behavioural changes
The progression of ALS is divided into 7 stages. They are:
- The Early Stage – Stiffness, cramping, muscle weakness, etc. begin to set in
- Diagnosis Stage – Loss of motor control become more pronounced, a doctor’s diagnosis is critical at this stage in order to begin treatment
- Middle Stage (second region) – Respiratory issues, swallowing troubles, contractures (muscle shortening), etc. begin to emerge as voluntary muscles start to lose complete function (leading to paralysis)
- Middle Stage (third region) – Dysphagia and speech irregularities set in, other symptoms like fatigue, chronic headaches, pneumonia, and other ailments begin to appear; respiratory failure is a common concern at this stage
- Gastronomy Stage – Severe dysphagia leading to tube feeding
- Last Stage – Complete loss of function of voluntary muscles, blood oxygen levels may drop due to respiratory issues; doctors may put patient on a ventilator
- Final Stage – Death caused by pneumonia, pulmonary failure, cardiovascular ailments, etc.
The above stages of ALS and their associated symptoms may sound worrying. You may find yourself anxious about the kind of life you could end up living after an ALS diagnosis. While the disease in itself is not irreversible, its symptoms can be managed, and the rate of progression can definitely be controlled.
Presently, there are no internationally approved medications for ALS. However, doctors recommend a combination of physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, nutrition and lifestyle change, etc. to manage its symptoms.
Plexus Rehabilitation for ALS
The best treatment for ALS is Plexus’ regenerative rehabilitation program. This is a tailored program that is based on the patient’s symptoms, doctor’s diagnosis, current lifestyle, as well as any aspirations the patient and their caregivers may have. This unique regenerative rehabilitation program offers a plethora of treatments and therapies to equip the patient with more independence, and to make caregivers more informed about the disease, its progression, and how they can play a meaningful role in the patient’s life.
Our program includes stem cell therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech therapy, strength training, activities for daily living training, and so on.
Today, stem cell therapy is regarded as one of the most effective treatments for ALS.
Stem Cell Therapy at India’s first ISO-Certified Stem Cell Research Centre
Plexus Neuro and Stem Cell Research Centre uses autologous stem cells taken from the patient’s own body. The procedure is conducted under the guidance of Dr. Sadiq, by a team of highly-skilled and experienced stem cell specialists.
Stem cell therapy for ALS
Stem cell therapy is essentially a type of regenerative treatment that uses the body’s natural healing mechanism to treat a number of conditions. Injected stem cells slow down the rate of neurodegeneration and also have the capacity to self-renew, regenerate cells, and repair damaged tissue.
Neuroprotection is one of the primary objectives of regenerative treatments like stem cell therapy. Injected stem cells can also provide immunomodulation, secrete growth factors, and also produce supporting cells that can protect damaged motor neurons from further damage and degeneration. Some of these supporting cells include astrocytes and oligodendrocytes.
Some of the benefits of stem cell therapy for ALS include:
- Enhanced everyday functioning
- Improved quality of life
- Immune system modulation and reduction of inflammation
- Prevention of further nerve damage
- Speedy recovery post-procedure
- Non-surgical procedure
- Zero complications and side-effects
At Plexus, our stem cell procedure involves the following steps:
- After reviewing the patient’s medical history, a panel of stem cell consultants will conduct a thorough physical examination of the patient
- Therapists will ascertain if the patient is eligible for stem cell therapy
- Stem cells are procured from the patient’s bone marrow; this procedure is performed under local anasthesia
- Collected stem cells are prepared sent to the laboratory for quality checks and isolated for further therapy
- In the laboratory, isolated stem cells divide and form daughter cells which can either self-renew or turn into specialised cells like brain cells, bone cells, or heart muscle cells
- Patients are discharged
- Depending on the stage of the disease, level of symptoms, and any other needs of the patient, the specialists will set a date for the stem cells to be injected into the patient’s body, targeting specific areas
- Further course of treatment is determined
Stem cell therapy is safe and risk-free because the autologous stem cells are drawn from the patient’s blood, bone marrow, or adipose tissue. They are progenitor cells that have the potential to multiply and transform into specialised cells, taking on the functions of the damaged cells by replacing them.
Other therapies in the rehabilitation program
Occupational therapy (OT) empowers the patient to perform daily activities with much more ease by helping them manage their symptoms. OT helps restore strength, improve endurance and hand function, and manage fatigue. Our team of highly skilled occupational therapists will help you regain independence and even improve your everyday functionality.
Physiotherapy is one of the most recommended therapies for patients with ALS. It is known to improve posture and prevent joint immobility. It can also delay the inevitable atrophy caused by lack of motor function. Our physiotherapists will devise an exercise plan that is in keeping with the patient’s requirements, lifestyle, and aspirations.
Speech and language therapy
One of the most troubling, common, and advancing symptoms of ALS is dysphagia. A speech therapist can help maintain communication skills, and also improve swallowing skills. Speech therapy also helps patients regain the ability to produce sounds and speech.
Muscle relaxants and medication
Muscle relaxants are prescribed by doctors to relieve muscle stiffness. They can also help reduce drooling that occurs due to dysphagia.
Plexus’ rehabilitation for ALS also offers:
- Diets and nutrition plans
- Endurance training and fitness management
- Functional stretching for relief from muscle stiffness
- Hand function training
- Functional splinting
- Strengthening of muscles in the shoulder, neck, upper and lower limbs, and oral structures
- Activities for daily living training
- Energy conservation and work simplification training
- Counseling and caregiver support
Book an appointment with us today.
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1. Are there any promising treatments for ALS?
A combination of physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy have enabled patients to recognise and manage their symptoms well. As a regenerative treatment, stem cell therapy has shown significant improvement in patients with ALS.
2. Can ALS stop progressing?
ALS is a progressive neuromuscular disorder. Its rate of progression can be controlled, however the disease in itself is irreversible.
3. Can ALS go into remission?
Presently, only less than 1% of ALS cases have gone into remission. However, stem cell therapy has brought in a sense of hope in doctors and patients. The treatment has helped numerous patients manage their symptoms for several years after the diagnosis.
4. Where is the best place for treatment of ALS?
Plexus is India’s first ISO-Certified stem cell research centre founded by Dr. Na’eem Sadiq. As India’s foremost neurologist and stem cell specialist, Dr. Sadiq and his team of specialists offer the best treatment plan for ALS under Plexus’ regenerative rehabilitation programs. These consist of stem cell therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and so on.
5. Is there a cure for ALS in 2022?
There’s no cure for ALS. But, its symptoms can be managed to a degree that the disease does not interfere with the patient’s quality of life. And this is an exceptional feat when it comes to treating motor neuron diseases like ALS.
6. Can you build muscle with ALS?
There isn’t enough evidence to support the idea of building muscle through strength training.
7. Can ALS damage be reversed?
Unfortunately, no. ALS is a progressive disease. But with timely diagnosis and prompt treatment, its symptoms can be managed, and the disease’s rate of progression can be controlled.
8. Does stretching help with ALS?
Yes, stretching exercises can improve muscle flexibility and delay atrophy.
9. What foods help fight ALS?
Balanced and nutritional meals are important to manage the symptoms of ALS.
Nutritionists recommend eating servings of high protein based foods, rich in antioxidants and carotenes, as well as high fiber grains.