Comparing MSCs to Traditional Autism Treatment Methods

Traditional autism treatment methods use a mixture of cognitive behavioral therapy, counseling and medication to try to encourage the patient’s brain to respond to external stimuli in a more typical way.

Medication can have unwanted side effects, which we will look at in more detail below. Behavioral therapy may have limited positive impact, but research consistently shows that stem cell therapy for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is significantly more beneficial.

Overview of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Autism spectrum disorder (or ASD for short) is an umbrella term used to describe the broad range of different symptoms and neurological conditions detected in autistic children.

Some of these symptoms can include:

  • Anxiety, anger and mood swings
  • Appetite and metabolic problems
  • Communication impairments
  • Inability to maintain eye contact
  • Lack of response to own name
  • Problems while playing
  • Social interaction difficulties

Not all symptoms are present in all cases, and severity can vary widely. That’s why autism is considered to be a ‘spectrum’ under modern definitions, with ‘mild’ conditions like Asperger syndrome falling on that spectrum too.

Traditional Approaches to Autism Treatment

Traditional autism treatment tackles the physical symptoms often using medication, and sometimes using procedures like transcranial magnetic stimulation. Cognitive behavioral therapy is also used to try to improve the negative behaviors associated with autism.

Understanding Mesenchymal Stromal Cells (MSCs)

Mesenchymal Stromal Cells (MSCs) are stem cells used to treat autism directly by improving blood flow and oxygen supply to the brain, and by stimulating improved functioning of neurons.

What Are MSCs? A Brief Overview

MSCs are stromal cells that can be isolated from a number of different places in the body and have the ability to self-renew and differentiate. This allows them to encourage cell renewal in the brain, bone, muscles and other tissues.

The Mechanism of Action of MSCs in Autism

Via stem cell transplant autism patients can benefit from multiple mechanisms of action. These can include:

  • New blood vessel formation (angiogenesis)
  • New neuron connections formed
  • Improved synapse transmission
  • Improved perfusion of oxygen in brain tissue
  • Stimulated white matter restoration

Specialist stem cell clinics like Swiss Medica are continuing their research into this hugely promising field of medicine, and are developing even more effective exosome-based MSC therapies as a result.

Comparative Analysis: MSCs Versus Traditional Methods

MSCs don’t have to be used in isolation. They can be combined with behavioral therapy to treat both the source and the symptoms of unwanted autistic behavior. However, clinical trials show that this combined approach to treatment is much more effective than using behavioral therapy alone to try to ‘retrain’ the autistic brain into more desirable behaviors.

Effectiveness in Symptom Management

Part of the challenge of autism spectrum disorder arises from its broad range of different symptoms. These are both physical, in the form of neurological symptoms, and behavioral in terms of social difficulties, learning impairment and self-harm tendencies.

Impact on Behavioral Symptoms

Research on transplantation of umbilical MSCs in autism patients found that patients’ scores on the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) improved by 37.9% compared with 13.7% for a control group who received behavioral therapy alone. This included improvements in body use, relating to other people, and responding to touch, taste and smell stimuli.

Impact on Neurological Symptoms

The same study found improvements in aberrant behaviors like lethargy, hyperactivity and irritability, with umbilical MSC combination therapy delivering 59.9% improvement on the Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC) versus 17.4% for participants receiving traditional behavioral therapy alone.

Side Effects and Safety Concerns

Any treatment has the potential to cause side effects. However, a good therapy for any condition is one that delivers improvement with only minimal short-term side effects.

Traditional Methods

Conventional therapies for autism can include social and behavioral training, anticonvulsants and psychoactive drugs (prescribed in over half of cases). But there can be unwanted side effects with traditional autism medicines, including anxiety, fatigue, increased appetite and weight gain.

MSC Therapy

Autism treatment using MSCs has been proven to be safe for patients. Side effects are rare and have no negative impact on long-term outcomes. Some of the possible effects of treatment include short-term fever between 15 minutes and three hours after treatment, and temporary hyperactivity as a result of the improved blood flow and oxygen to the brain tissue.

In conclusion

Autism spectrum disorder is a modern medical challenge that requires novel therapies. Traditional medicine has not been able to provide a cure, and often leads to unwanted side effects.

In contrast, MSC therapy for autism has been shown to be safe, effective in a good percentage of cases, and delivers improvements with minimal, short-lived side effects.

For neurological and social improvements, without lasting negative impacts, stem cell therapy for autism continues to show high levels of effectiveness for young patients, with associated benefits for their parents and caregivers.