STEM CELLS Help Regenerate Joints Without Surgery
Jan 03, 2017 07:14PM
By Sheila Mohammed, MD, PhD
Anyone who has cracked open a chicken bone probably noticed a pasty substance inside the hard outer part. Well, what they saw were stem cells. These ancient cells are made in our bones, the centers of which are filled with soft paste. A stem cell is like simple clay that can be fashioned into various beautiful ornaments that serve different functions.
Stem cells are primitive, and it is simplicity that allows them to adapt to changing environments. Adult stem cells are the means by which our bodies naturally heal. They not only self-replicate (make more stem cells), but they can also be used to make bone, cartilage, muscle or fat. That’s why stem cell treatments are so effective for reducing inflammation and apoptosis (cell death).
Most Americans have heard about stem cell treatments, and today the rest of the world is engaged in stem cell research. Countries such as Germany and Honduras are at the forefront of this research, developing stem cell therapy for use in people and animals to help rebuild their bodies as they degenerate.
The stem cells used in these therapies can be obtained from two sources. Our own stem cells can be taken from inside our bone, fat or blood, or stem cells can be bought. The easiest and least expensive way to get stem cells is from our own blood: a doctor takes some blood and puts it to spin in a machine, where the stem cells separate out and can be collected. (Essentially the same technique is used to get stem cells from the bone and fat, except that the process is more entailed and expensive.)
Once the stem cells are collected, they can be placed in whatever area of the body needs to rebuild. An example would be the knee joint: someone with missing cartilage in a knee, but who does not wish to have surgery, might choose instead to have stem cell treatments to the knee.
One of the beautiful properties of stem cells is that they change to become the same type of cell that they are intended to replace. So placed in the knee, the stem cells extracted from blood, bone or fat will become cartilage cells, which are appropriate to the cells’ new environment.
I have been studying and practicing regenerative stem cell medicine for many years. I encourage anyone dealing with chronic inflammation or degeneration of the knee, shoulder, hip, spine, neck or other joint to give stem cell therapy a try before choosing the more drastic surgical option. They will be amazed at what stem cell therapy can do for them.
Dr. Sheila Mohammed has offices at 507 Furling Ln., Destin. For appointments or more information, call 850-281-8186 or visit DrSheilaMohammed.com.