Stem Cells: Are They Right for You?

by Lisa Hogan, MD

What are stem cells? Stem cells, and the entire field of regen- erative medicine, are the subject of much research and excitement right now. A stem cell is a cell that has the potential to become any one of many types of cells. A pluripotent stem cell could become any type of tissue in the body. Pluripotent stem cells can only come from embryos. Although there are some stem cell lines taken from embryonic sources, they are only available for research purposes. A multipotent stem cell can be- come many types of cells but is more limited than a pluripotent stem cell. Multipotent stem cells are sourced from

adult tissues or from umbilical cord blood (CBSCs or cord blood stem cells). Tere are advantages to using CBSCs due to their youth, energy, health, lifespan and greater potential in terms of types of possible dif- ferentiation. Also, the CBSCs are immune privileged. Tis means they do not need to match a specific blood type or HLA type. Tey are not “seen” by the immune system as foreign cells, and they do not recognize your cells as foreign. CBSCs are obtained from tissue that would otherwise be dis- carded. Tere is no harm to mother or baby and the cells are extensively tested to be certain they are safe. Some common types of adult stem cells are those that form spe- cific cell lines. Examples are hematopoietic stem cells that form the cell lines in bone marrow and create blood elements and mesenchymal stem cells that form connec- tive tissue, bone, cartilage, muscle and fat.

What do stem cells do? Tey integrate into already existing tissues and structures and provide a source of new cells and a source of new stem cells. In other words, some of the stem cells will divide and differentiate to become a type of tissue and some will simply divide and continue to be a line of stem cells. In addition, they provide growth factors and other molecular signals, which help to direct your own native stem cells and encourage healing. Stem cells home to areas of injury and inflammation, so a primary use of stem cells is to assist in healing muscle, tendon, bone and joint injuries, and to reduce inflammation. Stem cells also increase vascularity and circulation in tissues and speed healing. Tis makes stem cells ideal for use

in erectile dysfunction and for atrophic vaginitis (vaginal dryness) and female anorgasmia (lack of or decline in orgasms) and urinary incontinence. Stem cells also appear to “balance” the immune system and have been used to improve autoim- mune disorders. Tey are also used for a serious condition called graſt vs. host disease, which occurs when transplant- ed tissue attacks the tissue of the host. Although stem cells are not considered a cure, they are used in many situations for improvement and enhancement. When stem cells are used for a specific condition or area of inflammation, they oſten also improve other conditions that are present. Improvements or remissions can last for many years. Examples of the conditions stem cells

have been used for are osteoarthritis, joint pain, tendon injuries, bone injuries (frac- tures), erectile dysfunction, atrophic vagi- nitis (vaginal dryness), female anorgasmia (lack of or decline in orgasm), skin burns, facial rejuvenation, scalp/hair rejuvenation, general anti-aging, and athletic enhance- ment. Stem cells have been used for many degenerative diseases such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary dis- ease), ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), lupus, Parkinson’s disease, autism, stroke, brain injury, diabetes, vasculitis, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, myasthenia gravis, scleroderma, muscular dystrophy, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome and psoriatic arthritis.

Could stem cells be helpful for you? A detailed consultation and thorough eval- uation by a physician that specializes in the field of anti-aging and regenerative medicine will help determine the answer to this ques- tion. Most stem cell recipients experience increased energy as well as improvement in painful or inflammatory conditions. Youthologie Aesthetic & Anti-Aging

Medicine is now offering stem cell therapy. Call today to schedule your consultation and learn the benefits you might derive from stem cell treatment. Contact Lisa Hogan, MD, at Youthologie Aesthetic & Anti-Aging Medicine, 10940 Raven Ridge Road, Suite 214, Raleigh, NC 27614. Phone 919-847-1495 or visit See ad on page 7.

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