As we grow older, our bodies usually fall apart. Little by little, we lose our faculties and vitality, until old age makes us decrepit. A healthy lifestyle that includes a nourishing diet and exercise is crucial for maintaining health as we get older, but it is not always enough to keep us active or protect us from disease. But a relatively new school of medicine is emerging, one that uses the power of the bodys own regenerative process to extend our lives and increase our well-being.

Stem Cells and Aging

The body constantly renews itself through the activity of stem cells. Stem cells are the master cells of the body. They are capable of replicating themselves, and making other cells within that organ or tissue type.

We are born with an abundance of these master cells in every organ and system, with the highest concentration in the bone marrow. This is one of the reasons that children are so resilient, they have high stem cell counts and are able to repair and renew themselves quickly and efficiently after an illness, accident, or other challenge.

As we age, our stem cell numbers dwindle due to toxicity in our environment or diet, disease, and simply the ravages of time. The signs of aging, from skin dryness and wrinkles to degenerative neurological disorders and heart disease, are primarily caused by this decreased ability of the body to rejuvenate itself.

Using Stem Cell Therapy to Slow the Aging Process

Medical researchers are discovering that it is possible to slow the aging process with stem cell therapy. It is theorized that injecting specialized stem cells into diseased or degenerated organs will enable those organs to repair and rejuvenate themselves.

In this way, stem cells may be a scientific fountain of youth, enabling the body to remain healthy and active for much longer than was possible before stem cell therapy. But because of specialization within stem cells and the challenge of integration of those cells into complex living human systems, a great deal more research is necessary before those treatments will be universally recognized as safe and effective.

Stem cell research is still in its infancy, and nearly all of the trials thus far have only been conducted on isolated tissue cultures and laboratory mice. But there is promising evidence that doctors will soon be able to use stem cell therapy to heal a wide array of diseases and challenges related to aging.

Diseases that Respond to Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cell therapy has proven most effective for bone marrow transplants, blood disorders, immune system conditions, corneal (eye) diseases, skin degeneration, and helping the body integrate organ transplants. It is useful for treating cancers related to the blood, circulatory system, and lymphatic system such as leukemia and lymphoma. A graft of tissue grown from stem cells of that organ is used to replace damaged tissue in the original organ.

Stem cell therapy has already proven effective in the treatment of isolated osteoarthritis cells. This means that soon doctors will be able to use stem cells to treat osteoarthritis in patients. This work may carry over to spinal cord degeneration and injuries, and eventually nearly every organ in the body may be able to be healed with stem cell therapy.

Stem Cell Therapy for Alzheimers Disease

There is great hope and motion towards the possibility of stem cells being used to treat degenerative neurological diseases such as Alzheimers. There are many potential causes of Alzheimers disease, but the leading cause is simply aging and the reduction in numbers of neural stem cells that occurs as we age.

Research indicates that eventually stem cells may be used to assist in rebuilding lost nerve fibers, protecting the neurons and glial cells that are still living, and stimulating the production of new neurons and glial cells. Thus far, these procedures have only been used in laboratory settings on brain tissue cultures, but it is predicted that the positive results will carry over to real-world results. This means that eventually doctors may be able to prevent or even cure Alzheimers disease with stem cell therapy.

Stem cell therapy is still a new field of medicine, with only a few decades of research and very limited application. But the evidence is promising that this may be the new wave of medicine, opening doors for a high quality of life as we age never before imagined.

Anecdotal reports from patients receiving experimental treatments are extremely positive, with results ranging from younger looking skin, to hair reverting from grey to its original color, to reduced fatigue and pain, all the way to regression of diseases. There is still a long way to go before more types of stem cell therapy are universally recognized as safe and effective. But it appears that this therapy will be the wave of the future, allowing us to maintain health and vitality for years longer than is possible now.