San Diego, CA (PressExposure) October 13, 2010 -- With 35.6 million people living with some form of dementia, Alzheimer's disease is causing a global financial burden. With the cost of caring for people with dementia around the world at $600 billion, it's good to know that Alzheimer's disease is responding to stem cell treatment. In fact, it's responding so well that the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care and research-the Alzheimer's Association-is supporting stem cell research. Yet, the stem cells come from an unexpected source: adult adipose stem cells, better known as fat cells-something most Americans have plenty of. These mesenchymal stromal stem cells are capable of morphing into various cell types that repair the body.
Sonia Discher knew something was wrong when her husband, Steve Discher, could not understand what she was saying or remember how to use the TV remote, but she continued to suspect dementia when he began slurring his words, forgetting to shower and shave, and withdrew from social activities and spending time with his family. Steve's employer noted a decline in Steve's ability to perform his job as a quality assurance rep at a nuclear plant. For his own safety, his boss pulled him from the site where he was working in radioactive zones to the main office at another location to do photocopying. But he even needed instruction on how to operate the copier and email a document.
When Steve scored low on an Alzheimer's test Sonia found online, she decided it was time to get help. Between December 2009 and March 2010 doctors did EEGs, CAT scans, blood work, CT scans, evaluations, and a battery of neuropsychological tests that confirmed Steve had early onset of Alzheimer's. It was global and not confined to just one part of the brain. His geriatric specialist said Steve's condition was very aggressive and estimated he had about six to eight years to live. Sonia would not accept the news that her husband, at age 50, was dying.
Sonia heard about stem cell treatment from a friend. Because this unconventional care is yet to be approved in Canada, Sonia searched the Web for available treatments and arranged for Steve to have an invasive bone marrow stem cell treatment in Germany. When she called ISCI, she learned they were using adipose-derived stem cells for treating Alzheimer's. Willing to try the treatment, Sonia cancelled the overseas trip and made arrangements for her and Steve to fly from Canada to ISCI's clinic in Mexico. LeiMomi Ferrill, the patient advocate with ISCI, handled the details of hotel arrangements. The Dischers were personally escorted to and from the clinic by ISCI representatives.
Adipose tissue or "fat" contains the richest known source of stem cells in the human body. A typical bone marrow stem cell treatment delivers about 50,000 adult stem cells. During the procedure on July 30, adipose tissue was removed from Steve's body using mini-liposuction, and processed with a combination of platelet-rich plasma and low laser light. Four hours later, 10 to 60 million stem cells of his own newly-activated stem and regenerative cells were administered back into Steve's body. Steve had no pain or discomfort whatsoever. The English-speaking surgeon stayed with Steve throughout the procedure and for several hours after.
Before the treatment Steve had stopped spending time with family or swimming (something he loved) and would not participate in conversations. He had a vacant stare as if he was not present. He refused to take walks with Sonia or play with his granddaughter. There were times when he didn't even know Sonia's name or his own address.
Three days after the adipose stem cell treatment Steve's personality and sense of humor came back and he began engaging with family and was able to carry on a conversation. As he gained energy in the weeks following he became even more socially active than before his demise. He now takes his granddaughter swimming and to the park, he rakes leaves without being asked, and even fixed the lawnmower belt; and during his walks with Sonia, he stops to speak with neighbors. Once his cognitive skills started coming back, he no longer had a vacant stare. In fact, he now wants to play games with his family and actually won at Yahtzee, a dice game that requires strategy, counting, and writing down a score.
"It is great to see Steve change so quickly. He is still confused when it comes to some things, but that is to be expected," says Sonia. "We can't expect to see a total recovery overnight but am looking forward to journaling about changes as they come along. Even though this treatment may not be a total cure, the results have been worth the time, money, and effort. I feel like I got my husband back."
In order to return to work, Steve had to score at least 75 percent on the Whmis safety course. The first time he took the test in August he scored 60 percent. He took it again two weeks later and scored 88 percent. Steve is excited about going back to work and is sure people will notice the change in him.
Adipose-derived stem cell treatments are showing considerable hope for patients with Alzheimer's disease and thanks to people like the First Lady of California Maria Shriver-a longtime Alzheimer's advocate, whose father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2003-more awareness is coming forth. Maria has planned a benefit for the Alzheimer's Association that includes a 5K march and candlelight vigil to be held Sunday, Oct. 24 in Long Beach, California. Peter Gallagher and Soleil Moon Frye and other celebrities, including Rob Lowe, Jane Fonda and event emcee Leeza Gibbons are scheduled to join Shriver on the March.
Located in San Diego, California, International Stem Cell Institute (http://www.iStemCelli.com) is a worldwide leader in providing a pathway to stem cell therapy. For more information contact an ISCI patient advocate at (800) 609-7795.
Disclaimer: Stem cell therapies offered for consideration by International Stem Cell Institute are not currently approved by the FDA and the treatments and procedures mentioned take place outside the USA. Stem cell treatments are not a cure for any condition, disease, or injury, nor a substitute for proper medical diagnosis and care. The information contained in this press release and ISCI's written materials should not be considered medical advice. It is intended to be used for educational and information purposes only.