The Gittens Clinic September 2019





Stem cells are fascinating and have been shown to do some wondrous things for athletes and regular folks alike. Unfortunately, many people are still uncertain about stem cell therapies because of common misconceptions and a lack of information. Yet, these treatments could possibly provide a huge benefit to them in a time of need. Let’s separate fact from fiction. Stem Cell Benefits Stem cells are now being used to treat a variety of orthopedic injuries. More specifically, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can differentiate and form the type of tissues that make up muscles, bones, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. With the use of these stem cells in orthopedic care, they can reduce chronic pain, heal stubborn injuries, improve functionality, and return patients to their normal routine, sometimes within just one week. Stem cells not only benefit those with orthopedic injuries, but they can also treat cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease can deprive heart tissue of oxygen and cause scar tissue to form, which changes blood pressure. New studies suggest that stem cells can differentiate into the cells needed to repair the heart, thus improving blood pressure. While these are some of the benefits backed by numerous studies, current research suggests these cells may aid in overcoming some autoimmune disorders and other inflammatory conditions as well. Adult stem cells have also been shown to combat diabetes by differentiating themselves into insulin-producing cells to help improve symptoms. Stem Cell Misconceptions One of the first misconceptions about stem cells is that they’re all the same, but this is simply not the case. Most people only think of embryonic stem cells, but stem cells can originate from a variety of places. Embryonic stem cells are so well-known because of the early controversy surrounding their use, but also because they have the ability to turn into any cell type within the body. Another type, adult stem cells, comes from reservoirs in the human body like bone marrow, adipose tissue (fat), etc. Their ability to differentiate into different types of cells depends on their age, source, and other factors.

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) come from the

manipulation of adult, fully-differentiated cells, like white blood cells and skin cells.

Another big misconception about stem cell therapy is that it’s questionable for ethical reasons. As mentioned, early controversy over using embryonic stem cells made the news, but in recent years, the medical

field has relied primarily on adult and pluripotent stem cells for testing and treating purposes. Not only are these cells free from controversy, as they’re donated from consenting individuals, but they have also been proven much more effective than embryonic stem cells. What about the risk of an immune response? Since the medical field focuses more on injecting patients with their own adult and pluripotent stem cells, the risk of an immune response is nonexistent. Even cells not originating from the end-user in clinical trials have been proven not to induce an immune response.

• 1 WWW.THEGITTENSCLINIC.COM These are just some of the benefits and misconceptions surrounding stem cell therapy and research. If you want to learn more about what stem cell therapy can do for you, please reach out to us at 833-448-8367 to schedule an appointment, or visit our Stuart, Miami, or Palm Beach Gardens offices. -Dr. Carl Gittens

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