The types of ataxia treated with Beike’s umbilical cord blood stem cells have been mostly genetic spinocerebeller ataxia (SCA), general spinocerebeller or idiopathic ataxia from unknown causes – with Friedrich’s Ataxia being the most frequent type treated.
Beike’s umbilical cord blood teem cells have been used in the treatment of genetic spinocerebeller ataxia (SCA), general spinalcerebeller and idiopathic ataxia from unknown causes. The most frequently treated type of ataxia have been Friedreich’s and spinaocerebellar type 3 ataxia.
Ataxia telangiectasia, sensory ataxia and other types of ataxia not mentioned above have generally not been treated but please feel free to complete our medical form to get a definitive answer on whether your type of ataxia is treatable.
Cerebellar ataxia is the main type of ataxia that patients seek stem cell treatment for. Cerebellar ataxia implies dysfunction of the cerebellum and the symptoms vary depending on which part of the cerebellum is affected.
Symptoms generally include:
- Increasingly wide gait
- Lack of stability
- Difficulty carrying out planned movements
- Writing abnormalities
- Slurred speech
All forms of ataxia cause poor coordination. Other symptoms can include chest pain, shortness of breath and heart palpitations.
The main causes of ataxia include:
- External sources such as esethanol, marijuana, ketamine, PCP and dextromethorphan and epilepsy drugs
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
- Ethanol abuse, high altitude sickness, hdryocephalus and cerebellitis
- Hereditary (passed on from relatives)
- Cerebellum was not formed properly during development before birth
- Idiopathic – unknown cause that is cerebellar
The prognosis for ataxia patients generally depends on the type of ataxia. Some types of ataxia can result in death – usually, in the case of Friedreich’s ataxia, due to respiratory, swallowing or cardiac problems. Freidreich’s ataxia is one of the most serious types with 95% of patients being wheelchair-bound by age 45 and the average age of death being 37.7 years old.
Generally there is no conventional treatment for ataxia but physical therapy can help to reduce the noticeable symptoms. Beike’s treatment protocol combines physical therapy with the stem cell transplant regimen to help maximize the effectiveness of the treatment.
Genetic ataxia usually causes the body to make abnormal proteins that affect nerve cells mostly in the cerebellum. As ataxia progresses and the nerve cells become less and less responsive to commands from the brain, coordination problems become more obvious.
Studies have shown that some types of ataxia, especially Friedreich’s ataxia, result in a lower than normal frataxin, a mitochondrial protein. Lack of frataxin may make the nervous system, heart and pancreas highly susceptible to damage from free radicals. Based on this theory, scientists have tried to reduce the levels of free radicals by treating patients with antioxidants like coenzyme Q10 and vitamin E. There are clinical trials ongoing in the US and Europe to address this. Some leading researchers like Dr. Perlman at UCLA, feel that nutrition is very important to help slow down the onset of the symptoms of ataxia. She has a nutrition guide that can be found here.
There are many ongoing clinical trials that need subjects for research. You can find these listed here.
The best way to diagnose ataxia is by getting a diagnostic MRI brain scan. In addition, blood tests and genetic blood tests can help to determine if ataxia is present, especially if it is hereditary ataxia. If you are presenting ataxia-like symptoms and your relatives have it, it is best to get genetic testing to see if you have the same type.
Ataxia onset varies from childhood to 60 years of age. This usually depends on what type of ataxia the patient has. Freidreich’s ataxia most often starts in childhood with symptoms appearing between the ages of 5 and 15 – but it can start in some cases as early as 18 months or as late as 50 years of age.
The prevalence of ataxia varies in different countries. The prevalence of SCA is generally 1-4 out of every 100,000 people but can be much higher in certain countries. Friedreich’s ataxia occurs in about 1 out of every 50,000 people in the United States. French Canadians and southern Italians have the highest prevalence. There are about 10,000 people total with ataxia in the United Kingdom.
At this point, stem cell treatment for ataxia is still in the early stages and it is not for all. Patients that have come in the past have reported varying degrees of success – from not getting any improvement in their condition, to having respite for six months from symptoms, while others continue to feel better three or four years later.
If you want to try to do something about your situation before it deteriorates further, please contact us to see what treatment our doctors may feel will be most beneficial to you.