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Case Analysis : Stem Cell Therapy for Cerebral Palsy

by Drs.Like Wu, Xiaojuan Wang and Bo Cheng


Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a nervous system developmental disease. Usually CP is referred to as a central movement disorder; which is caused by non-progressive cerebral injury or encephalodysplasia during pregnancy during childbirth or after birth up to about one month due to many reasons. The incidence of CP is about 1.2-2.5%, clinical features are abnormal in posture and muscular tension, involuntary movement and ataxia, which are usually associated with sensory disturbance, cognitive dysfunction, behavioral disorder, secondary skeletal muscle abnormalities and epileptic seizures. The non-progressive central movement disorders, which are also called acquired cerebral palsy, are caused by many reasons one month after birth. Approximately 10% of CP cases include: the cause of congenital brain disorder etiology, premature matrix hemorrhage, periventricular leukomalacia, hypoxic ischemic injury, spastic diplegia, infantile hemiplegia, paraplegia and quadriplegia, extrapyramidal syndrome, hands athetosis, bilirubin encephalopathy, neonatal congenital ataxia, bridge cerebella dysplasia, flaccid paralysis, which all belong to the acquired development diseases. The diseases of intrauterine infection caused by intrauterine and neonatal infection, result in cerebral malformations and anomalies, that belong to infectious development diseases. Those patients show more or less symptoms of mental retardation.

There are many causes for CP, such as: genetic diseases, infectious diseases, cerebral dysplasia, cerebral ischemia and hypoxia, brain injury, cerebral hemorrhage, etc. Though prematurity and intrauterine growth retardation are not the direct causes of CP, they are still the most important high risk factors.

The pathogenic factors in early trimester of pregnancy cause neuronal proliferation and migration anomalies and may cause agyria, pachygyria, polymicrogyria, schizencephaly and neuronal heterotopia. The most common pathological changes are periventricular leukomalacia and periventricular hemorrhagic infarction. Pathological changes are during development of the infant and there are many which show to be complex and are related to hypoxic ischemic brain damage. The marble state is caused by neuronal loss and gliosis with myelination increases, which is a typical change of kernicterus, which can be seen in the hypoxic ischemic brain damage as well.

Symptoms of CP patients in infancy commonly shows abnormal posture and movement retardation, such as neonatal hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, and low muscle tone in the early periods of infancy, then it develops into hypermyotonia. The equilibrium disorder may be found after the baby can sit or even stand. Secondary changes, such as joint contracture and deformity of the spine, are progressive developments; epilepsy, mental retardation, behavioral disorders and sensory disturbances can be found, as well. These symptoms can be the main physical disability of CP children.

Cerebral Palsy (CP) is divided into spastic; athetoid, ataxia, hypotonia and mixed type to describe different types of movement disorders, following are several clinical

Spastic Hemiplegia

The most common type, involving one side of the body, upper limbs are shown to be worse than lower limbs, far-end worse than near-end, face is usually normal. Children often show obvious symptoms after 3 months, such as less limbs move, persistent fist, grasp reflex disappears, forearm pronation posture, circle gait and so on. Part of the patient's first symptoms can be low muscle tone, and then it turns to spasticity. Mental retardation and epilepsy are common in this type. Epileptic seizures show partial or secondarily generalized seizures. Strabismus is very common.

Spastic Quadriplegia

Spastic quadriplegia is usually found in children who suffer from severe asphyxia. Their limbs muscle tension is increased, often showing signs of opisthotonos, and with supranuclear bulbar paralysis, causing swallowing and articulation disorder. About half of the patients show signs of epilepsy and mental retardation.

Dyskinetic CP

Dyskinetic CP is found in about 10% of CP patients, main causes are hypoxic brain injury and neonatal nuclear jaundice. Patients commonly show hypotonia in early infancy, and then have extrapyramidal symptoms, such as athetosis. Salivation, dysphagia and the language barrier can be found as well. Deep tendon reflex in the lower limbs is shown to be normal or increased. Patients may have persistent primitive reflex, intelligence is mostly in the normal or critical state. About 1/4 of the patients have epilepsy. Cases caused by nuclear icterus show athetosis, sensory deafness, enamel hypoplasia, etc.

Ataxia CP

This type of CP is present in about 10% of CP patients; symptoms are usually hypotonia, balance disorder and motor retardation in infancy, Dysmetria, intention tremor in childhood, pyramid sign is not common, and many patients show signs of mental retardation, but nothing serious.

The evaluation of motor functions and daily life ability are helpful to judge the severity of cerebral palsy, and as a basis to evaluate the effect of the rehabilitation treatment. The common motor function assessment scale is following two types.


Our treatment aims to improve the patient's physical function and life quality, to minimize secondary joint deformity and soft tissue contractures as far as possible, to try to postpone or avoid surgery. The traditional treatment methods include:

Physical therapy: To improve motor function and enhance the ability of self-care by increasing joints range of motion, adjusting the muscle tension, motion control, coordination ability, strength and endurance, etc.

Occupational therapy: Including fine hand functional training, activities of daily living training, brace and auxiliary means making and simple transformation of living environment, etc.

Speech Therapy: After being assessed by physicians and speech therapists, the patients will get treatment based on the type of speech disorder. such as: jaw, lips, tongue, soft palate movement control training, as well as understanding and presentation skills training.

Drug therapy: Commonly used drugs include cranial nerve nutrition medicine, muscle relaxant, etc.

Surgery: When the patient suffers from severe muscle contracture and joint deformities, the patient could consider orthopedic surgery.

WSCMC research found that traditional treatments could improve motor functions in a certain extent, but in reality they are not aimed at treating the cause of the disease.

No matter what caused cerebral palsy, there is a decrease in the number of brain nerve cells with normal function. The traditional treatments are not able to increase the number of nerve cells in the brain, neither to have the nerve damage repaired.

Through years of research and therapeutic practice, WSCMC discovered that neural stem cell implantation treatment not only can effectively increase the number of brain nerve cells, but also is able to start the re-development of the neurological process. The treatments are combined with the necessary drugs and rehabilitation, so that 80% transplanted neural cells are able to show function, so as to make the patients obtain much more improvements in neurological function.

Case Analysis

Drs. Sherry Xi, Xiaojuan Wang and Like Wu

Infantile cerebral paralysis (young child brain paralysis) refers to non-progressive brain injuries which occur during the perinatal period.

Cerebral paralysis involves centrokinetic disorders resulting in abnormal posture, and may be accompanied by cognitive developmental disorders, epilepsy, dystrophy or disturbance of perception, language barriers and so on. Most patients present symptoms up to age one. Infantile cerebral paralysis is one kind of common disease occurring during infancy which is crippling and serious. Its incidence rate is approximately 1.5/ 1000 - 5/1000 . There is the largest number proportion in the young child nerve and genetic counseling outpatient service.

Brain paralysis characteristics and classification:

Growth: Refers to the damage the brain receives during the development and growth process.

Non-progressive: The pathological change is non-progressive, so the brain damage does not change with time and the symptoms don't generally worsen.

Permanence: The brain paralysis is not a procedural disease, but results in a permanent barrier to the main central movement function.

Medical record abstract and treatment process: The patient is an 8 year old girl whose mother experienced dystocia when the girl was born. The doctor used obstetric forceps to help with the delivery. The girl was born with a serious oxygen deficit. Because of the doctor's vigilant response, the girl was no longer in a life threatening position. A scan showed consistency with ischemia anoxic brain illness. The girl was presented with paralysis in all four limbs and epilepsy, the type of paroxysm and medication is unclear. The girl has received hyperbaric oxygen therapy and botulinum toxin therapy. The patient's family members went to the hospital many times to help improve her cognition functioning and activity in her four limbs. Soon after, the patient's gaze improved, there was slight autonomic activity in all four limbs, and she was able to respond to some simple questions, as well as displaying some simple emotional responses. The patient's spirit is weak, unsatisfactory mood, very thin.

Admission PE:

Temperature: 36.8, Bp96/55 mmHg, height: 106cm, weight: 13kg. The patient was presented with dysplasia. Her nutritional intake was poor, scissors gait, touchdown with toe, bilateral flat foot, chest growth symmetrical, no sign of rales in the lungs, the heart was in good condition, and the abdominal muscles were tight, with no knotting present.

Nervous System PE: Level of consciousness was ok, while content of consciousness was poor. She could not coordinate her memory, calculation skills or orientation. She had poor vocal quality, bilateral pupils are equal and round, and diameter is about 3.0mm. She had normal response to light. The movement of both eyes does not show obvious signs of nystagmus, but movement was not coordinated. The grains in the forehead were symmetrical, bilateral haso-liabial groove was equal depth and so on, her facial expressions were normal. The movement of her neck and four limbs was ok and there were no obvious signs of paralysis of her extremities, bilateral abdominal reflexes could not be induced by examination. Both lower limb pathological reflexes were negative. She could not cooperate with the medical examination to show her teeth and loll, four extremity myodynamias and muscle tone, tendon reflexes of the four limbs, sensory system and coordinate movements.

Treatment: Focus on improving circulation, administer anti-epilepsy medication, stem cells implantation (4 stem cell injections), nutritious stem cell cocktail treatment. Coordinate with special individual recovery training. The expected outcome was to improve the nerve function (movement function, optic nerve function and so on) and to control the epilepsy.

After the treatment: Patient had seen several significant improvements in her condition, height: 114cm, weight: 15.5kg. Her spirit was good, emotional responses were good. Her behavior and ability to express herself were much improved. Her vocal sounds were louder. Her eyes were more flexible, coordination was good, no obvious signs of nystagmus. The movement in the tip of the tongue was flexible and could stretch outside the lips. She had more control over the movement in her neck. Both hands can grasp lightly, but the capacity to hold things was poor. Both hands present normal function position. Both lower limbs had more myo-volume. She had normal arching of her feet and could stand with both soles grounded completely. She could take a step and the strength of her waist was improved. She could sit alone for approximately ten minutes with her legs crossed and with both elbows supported on a pillow. The muscle tone in all four limbs was not high. She had no epileptic seizures. The patient left the hospital two months later and her family members told us that her height and weight had reached normal levels. She can stand up and walk more than ten steps with someone assisting her.

Discussion: The patient was diagnosed with brain paralysis. The cause of her disease was clear; the stem cell treatment was effective. After the transplantation of neural stem cells which differentiated into nerve cells and through auto-activation of the baby's brain and spinal cord's own stem cells, there was an increase in the number of nerve cells in the central nervous system, to help repair the damaged neurons. In addition, we gave the patient physical and chemical induction therapy to promote the nerve stem cells in the brain to organize and differentiate, in order to have proper function, restore the cranial nerves' normal growth, improve cerebrum cognition and movement function, and to provide more healing opportunities for the patient. Stem cell treatment is currently the most effective method and the younger the patient is, the better the chances of success. If the patient participates in the standard system's recovery exercises after the nerve stem cell treatment, this will promote the growth of the nerve stem cells and assist the repairing function of these stem cells and as a result, the effect will be better. The intervention and treatment should begin as soon as possible, which is the only way to prevent brain paralysis, which has crippling effects. During the treatment process, the stem cells improve the patient's cerebrum cognition and movement function. If the patient persists with the rehabilitation training, the improvements will continue.

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