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Dear Doctors,
I need professional views on stem cell therapy treatments for Alzheimer patient.

My grandmother's (age 79) current condition: complete renal failure, hyper tension, atrial fibrillation, dementia alzheimer and all of this just happened within this year. First I would like to give you some background on her hospitalize year:
It all started on April this year when she had her first surgery. After the surgery her renal suddenly failed, at first it was just acute renal failure but the condition worsen. The doctor let her come home, but in just no more than a week she had a minor stoke. The doctor said that we bring her in in time, nothing bad happened, don't need to worry. However, after the stroke she started to forget everything. At first the doctor said the confusion was from the anesthetic given during the surgery but after a couple of days CT scan and contrast imaging showed signs of alzheimer disease. We get to bring her home, but her leg strength weaken and within a month she fell and broke her pelvis. Now, her pelvis has healed, she barely walks [needs two people to help her walk], she have to go do dialysis 3days/week [she drinks too much water] and have mood swings [mostly bad] all the time.

My grandfather came across a doctor who have a clinic on stem cell therapy and claims that he have alzheimer patients that showed improvement after a year of treatment. The cost per month is very high not to mention the yearly cost. [We are living in Thailand, the clinic is also in Thailand]

I would like your views on whether or not we should try the stem cell therapy. They say they will use donor stem cell [human] and IV it into the bloodstream. I don't understand how the cell would past through the blood-brain barrier, not to mention how it's going to form new neuron cells and connect to the old one. Are there going to be antibodies problem since the stem cells are from a donor? If it doesn't help with the alzheimer, would it help with other things such as soften blood vessel, repair renal etc. What are the down side of stem cell treatment? Cancer? Please give some suggest whether or not it is worth trying since the current medicine is not working and her dementia alzheimer worsen rapidly.

Thank you,

Category: Neurologist, Medical

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Category: Pediatric Neurologist
Dr. Sudhir Kumar is online now

Expert:  Dr. Sudhir Kumar replied 4 Days.

Thank you for posting your query at DoctorSpring.com
I have noted your grandmother's symptoms, diagnosis and her current clinical condition.
In my opinion, stem cell treatment should not be tried because it has no scientific basis at this point of time. There is no proven benefit and in addition, it can cause severe psychosis and behavioral disturbances. High cost factor is a minor issue, as if the stem cell treatment was beneficial, we would have gone for it anyway.
At this point of time, we should go for standard care, such as use of aspirin (for strokes) and donepezil, memantine, rivastigmine for treating Alzheimer's disease.
I hope it helps.
Please feel free to discuss further,
Best wishes,
Dr. Sudhir Kumar MD (Medicine), DM (Neurology)
Senior Consultant Neurologist

Dr. Sudhir Kumar
Category: Pediatric Neurologist
Senior Residency, Fellowship: DM, Neurology, CMC, Vellore, 2001
Junior Residency: MD, Internal Medicine, CMC, Vellore, 1998
Medical School: MBBS, Christian Medical College, Vellore, 1995
Dr. Sudhir Kumar and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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