Migraine: Can Stem Cells from Body Fat Help?

About every tenth person suffers from it: Headache attacks, accompanied by nausea and increased sensitivity to sensory stimuli, known as migraine. The duration of the headache, which mostly radiates unilaterally into the neck, is very variable, but can last from several hours to some days. Affected people mostly complain about the heavy emotional distress due to the recurring pain.

In spite of intensive research, the cause of migraine still has not been fully understood. By now we know that so-called trigger factors cause seizures via a stimulus. Among them are hormonal factors, for example stress, but also certain food products and pharmaceuticals. In order to temporarily ease the symptoms in case of urgencies painkillers and drugs are given for blocking the “nausea receptors” located in the brain.

Fat Stem Cells Help Migraine Patients

Now the sufferers can draw new hope. In the course of a study on patients American scientists found that stem cells extracted from body fat may contribute to the relief of migraine. Stromal Vascular Fraction (SVF) has been separated from a small portion of adipose tissue. Fat tissue has a high content of vital cells such as mesenchymal stem cells. Afterwards, the SVF has been injected into the area of shoulders and neck.

In the study the New York Headache Center surveyed adult women and men who suffered from chronic therapy-resistant migraine for multiple years. The scientists defined a reduction of the MIDAS score as a goal. This score measures the degree of a patient’s impairment by migraine and also the reduction of quality of life. The treatment showed success: Already three months after the stem cell treatment the score declined by almost one third.

As the study proves, the transplantation of stem cells isolated from body fat could spare migraine patients the frequent intake of medication and therefore may have a positive impact on the improvement of their well-being.

DDr. Heinrich, MD

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