Natural Therapies for Stroke

You’ve probably heard the expression, “Mimicry is the sincerest form of flattery”. If so, then Dr. David Steenblock surely is entitled to feel flattered as scores of integrative medical doctors and even some conventional ones began using natural and off-label therapies for stroke on the heels of his publicized pioneering work and successes with them. Among these:

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)

Beginning in 1989 Dr. Steenblock donned the mantle of pioneer among stroke-treating doctors by using  hyperbaric oxygen therapy to treat stroke and was among the very first physicians to use HBOT to treat an acute stroke case and document a remarkable clinical response and turnaround. Dr. Steenblock also did trailblazing research-oriented clinical work involving the use of HBOT on cerebral palsy, autism and other neurologic diseases and conditions.

As you might expect, many critics and skeptics took exception to Dr. Steenblock’s use of hyperbaric oxygentherapy (HBOT) for chronic stroke. Quackwatch’s Stephen Barrett stated in 2010 that “It is true that strokes are caused by lack of oxygen to the brain. However, there is no scientific evidence that increasing oxygen delivery to the brain after an acute episode is over can stimulate cells to regenerate.”

This is not what Dr. Steenblock saw and documented.

Then, in 2013, Dr. Steenblock’s prior work was validated by a major randomized Israeli study that was published in the journal PLOS Clinical Trials in which the authors reported that “… HBOT can lead to significant neurological improvements in post stroke patients even at chronic late stages”

SCORE: Steenblock +1, Skeptics -1

Stem Cell-Rich Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate (BMAC)

In early 2005 Dr. Steenblock began harvesting and infusing stem cell rich bone marrow aspirate concentrate(BMAC) along with FDA approved pharmaceutical stem cell activators to successfully treat a whole host of diseases and medical conditions including age-related macular degeneration, osteoarthritis, multiple sclerosis (MS), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS),  osteoporosis, spinal cord injury (SCI), Parkinson’s disease and COPD (Emphysema).

In the intervening years Dr. Steenblock and his medical team have done over 2000 BMAC treatments. What has emerged is that it is safe and effective in remediating stroke damage and other neurological maladies.

Critics, many being bench warming scientists and so-called bioethicists, objected to the use of adult stem cells including BMAC with all kinds of dire warnings about safety. Study after study appeared refuting this including one seminal one that was widely publicized this past spring: Stem cells can be safely infused in brain to promote stroke recovery, study finds (May 21, 2015).

Quoting from this article:

“A yearlong study of stroke patients has found that stem cells from a patient’s bone marrow can be safely infused into the brain. Researchers at the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine followed 48 patients, more than half of whom were treated using stem cells, and found enhanced recovery along with no adverse side effects when compared with their counterparts.

“Each patient was assessed at 24 hours post-procedure and again at 90, 180 and 365 days

“….both the placebo group and the treated group of patients were given traditional stroke-recovery therapy. Patients who were given the stem cell treatment were noted to recover motor skills and speech.

“Yavagal explained the stem cells act as drug factories in the area of the brain damaged by the stroke, secreting a number of useful substances to promote recovery. The cells help repair damaged cells, including ones that encourage growth and act as anti-inflammatory aids. Some of the properties also act to salvage cells that are on the edge of dying, helping to preserve brain tissue and act as neuroprotectors.

“Previously it was thought that they transform into neurons and brain tissue, but especially with bone marrow cells that does not seem to be the case,” Yavagal said. “The main effect seems to be through the supportive functions or nursing functions.”

Once again, scientific proof has shown that Dr. Steenblock has been and will continue to be years ahead of others in how to successfully treat patients with chronic diseases.