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Stem cell therapy for autism in Germany

Stem cell therapy for autism in Germany

| from Booking Health GmbH | Diagnosis & treatment

Autism is one of the most common disorders detected in 1-2% of children. Its causes are unknown. The disease leads to impaired speech and interaction with other people, which in turn leads to a mental retardation of the child. To avoid such consequences, it is very important to detect the disease early and undergo treatment. 

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Autism is one of the most common disorders, diagnosed in 1-2% of children. Its reasons are unknown. The disease leads to impaired speech and interaction with other people, which in turn leads to mental retardation of the child. To avoid such consequences, it is very important to timely identify the disease and undergo a course of treatment. In the treatment of this pathology, in addition to standard methods, doctors are increasingly using stem cells. Their injection has a beneficial effect on the brain, improves the child's behavior and increases the effectiveness of further speech therapy and behavior correction.

Content

  1. Diagnosis of autism in Germany
  2. Criteria for the diagnosis of autism in Germany
  3. Assessment of autism severity in Germany
  4. Assessment of clinical course of autism in Germany
  5. Treatment of Autism in Germany
  6. The main approaches to treatment of autism in Germany
  7. Problems of autism treatment in Germany
  8. Mechanisms of action of stem cells for autism treatment in Germany
  9. What are the expected results of autism treatment with stem cells in Germany?
  10. Comprehensive treatment of autism in Germany
  11. Where can patients with autism receive medical care in Germany?

Diagnosis of autism in Germany

 

Parent should see a doctor, if they notice the following signs of autism:

  • The child does not crow until the age of 1 year 
  • The child does not have any pointing gesture 
  • The child does not pronounce separate words up to 1 year and 4 months 
  • The child does not pronounce short phrases up to 2 years 
  • The child loses previously acquired speech or social skills at any age 

Criteria for the diagnosis of autism in Germany

 

To make a diagnosis, doctors use the criteria of the International Classification of Diseases. There are two groups of signs of the disease. The diagnosis can be made when the following conditions are met simultaneously:

  • The presence of at least 2 signs of the first group 
  • The presence of at least 1 symptom of group 2-5 
  • The presence of at least 6 symptoms in total from all groups 

1. Impaired social interaction.

The child cannot communicate with people, does not look at them, does not use facial expressions, gestures and posture to establish rapport.

The patient cannot make contact with other children based on shared activities, interests or emotions.

The child does not know the forms of communication that he should know, based on his current age, despite the presence of prerequisites for their establishment.

Impaired social, emotional behavior and communication, deviant (inadequate) type of response to the proposed social contacts.

Failure to show positive emotions in connection with the emergence of common interests or activities with other people.

2. Impaired verbal communication. 

Verbal communication does not develop or the rate of its development slows down. Facial expressions and gestures are not used to compensate for lack of communication.

The child cannot start communication and maintain it with other people.

Phrases, words or fragments thereof are used incorrectly and inappropriately.

While playing games, the child does not try on social roles.

 

Diagnostics of autism in Germany

 

3. Repeating behavioral patterns. 

The child makes stereotypical movements, performs the same type of repetitive actions, often inadequate in content.

The patient is busy for a long time with certain objects that are not of interest to most other children.

4. Mental and behavioral disorders, such as fears, agitation, aggression and autoaggression, overeating, etc. 

5. The listed symptoms can be detected up to 3 years. 

Autism is not a separate disease, but a whole group of disorders. It includes Kanner's syndrome, Asperger's syndrome, Rett's syndrome, Geller's syndrome, childhood psychosis, mental retardation with signs of autism and other pathologies. Each type of autism spectrum disorder has its own characteristics.

Assessment of autism severity in Germany

 

Severity can be assessed using the CARS quantitative scale. It can be used not only for primary diagnosis, but also for the purpose of monitoring the child in dynamics, confirming the success of the treatment. The scale is intended for children from 2 years of age. It evaluates 15 parameters:

  • Relationship with people
  • Imitation of their activities and movements 
  • Eye contact 
  • Sound response 
  • Touch, smell and taste response 
  • Emotional response ability 
  • Anxiety or fear
  • Mobility and coordination 
  • Ability to use items 
  • Ability to adapt to a new situation 
  • Speech 
  • Nonverbal communication (facial expressions, gestures, posture) 
  • Total activity of the child 
  • Quality and consistency of smart responses 
  • Overall impression from the patient 

For each subject, the child can receive from zero to 4 points. The final maximum score is 60 points. Autism starts at 30 points. The presence of 37 or more points indicates a severe form of pathology.

Assessment of clinical course of autism in Germany

 

In different patients, autism proceeds differently. The described staging is only indicative. The classic version of the course of the disease is as follows: 

Autism behaves differently in different patients. The described setting is only indicative. The classic course of the disease is as follows: 

Stage 1 – psychosis. Lasts from 1 to 6 months. It is characterized by a stop or a sharp slowdown in the development of the child. He becomes detached, prone to self-isolation. He has no emotions, his activity decreases.

Stage 2 – regression. Lasts 6-12 months. The child loses speech. Self-care skills and order are gradually deteriorating. The child exhibits motor stereotypes. The gestures become more primitive, corresponding to the early age of the child.

Stage 3 – catatonic. Lasts 1.5-2 years. Gradually, the symptoms become less pronounced. In this case, the child develops catatonic disorders, such as agitation, negativism. The stereotype remains. 

After the completion of the third phase, development usually resumes. Symptoms gradually regress, but many problems remain. These may include increased activity, impulsivity, obsessive-compulsive disorder, phobias. In the natural course of the disease, two-thirds of patients cannot be trained due to the lack of coherent speech and the inability to follow the instructions of an adult.

Treatment of Autism in Germany

 

Early diagnosis is extremely important as treatment should be started as early as possible. This approach allows doctors, if possible, to normalize the pace of the child's intellectual and psychological development. The treatment continues. Various areas of therapy can be used:

  • Medication 
  • Defectological 
  • Pedagogical 
  • Psychological, neuropsychological and psychotherapeutic 

In recent years, cell therapy has gained popularity. Stem cells are injected into the child to repair damaged areas of the brain and lead to improved behavior, intelligence, social interaction and communication.

 

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The main approaches to treatment of autism in Germany

 

Treatment is based on behavioral therapy. It must be carried out continuously, at least 20 hours a week. All other methods are auxiliary.

ТЕАССН technique. It involves the creation by adults of an environment for the child that excludes everything that annoys the child. His day goes by strictly according to the schedule, which he learns from the prompts. Everything in the right place. The child has correctional classes, before which he establishes contact with the teacher for a long time. Technique does not imply compulsion to anything.

ABA technique. It involves a behavior modification. It can be used for severe forms of autism. It is an essentially opposite treatment method. The adult tightly controls all the actions of the child, learns with him the individual stages of various manipulations and gradually connects to the chain. The patient is not provided with any initiative. The targeted actions gradually become natural, and eventually complicated.

This is due to a change in behavior. It can be used for severe forms of autism. This is a fundamentally opposite method of treatment. The adult strictly controls all the child's actions, learns with him the individual stages of various manipulations and gradually connects to the chain. The patient is not given any initiative. Targeted actions gradually become natural and more complex over time.

Medicines. There is no medicine that can cure a child of autism. Nevertheless, drugs help get rid of current problems, such as aggressiveness, fear, hyperactivity, etc. Drug therapy does not solve basic problems, such as learning and socializing a child, and acquiring communication skills.

Problems of autism treatment in Germany

 

The existing methods of treating autism are mainly a complex of educational activities. In fact, this is a special workout for the child. He is taught to speak, perform certain actions and integrate into society.

Before starting treatment, the child's parents should be aware of the purpose of the treatment. In early childhood, they want the baby to behave well at the table, to go to the toilet on his own, not to show aggression and does not require the constant presence of an adult. As a child grows up, the needs of his parents change: they want the child to get an education, integrate into society and adapt to the world. Moreover, the needs of the patient himself often run counter to the wishes of the parents. Autistic people are not particularly interested in representing themselves in society, they are not interested in social status, although in some professions they can achieve impressive results.

Thus, one of the problems of treatment is not understanding the goals. Before starting treatment, there is an important ethical question to be addressed: should the treatment primarily serve the goals of the parents or the patient? They are often completely different.

Another problem is the insufficiently high efficiency of the measures taken. For treatments to work, they need to be applied continuously, over the years. However, not all parents have enough money and time to constantly treat their child.

Perhaps the problem of autism will be solved in the near future, if not completely, then at least partially. European clinics are increasingly using stem cells. They allow you to achieve impressive results in just a few treatments. Such treatment does not require the constant presence of parents and abandonment of the usual way of life. This gives long-term results and increases the effectiveness of subsequent pedagogical and psychotherapeutic measures.

This treatment is the most physiological. It is not just "teaching" the child in the hope that his behavior will be acceptable to the parents. Stem cells can repair damaged areas of the brain and normalize immune processes in the central nervous system. Therefore, the child's behavior and social skills begin to develop naturally. Such development does not contradict the desires and aspirations of the patient himself, does not cause discomfort and negative reactions in response to attempts at training.

Mechanisms of action of stem cells for autism treatment in Germany

 

The mechanism of action is not precisely established. Stem cells are expected to have a positive effect on the clinical course of autism by normalizing the patient's immune profile and releasing growth factors that stimulate tissue regeneration.

It used to be that autism spectrum disorders were purely genetic, but today there are more publications linking autism to immune disorders. The main immune causes are dysfunction of T cells and B cells, cytokines (especially interleukin-6), and increased activity of tumor necrosis factor alpha.

Attempts have been made to correct immune disorders. For this purpose, steroids and intravenous infusions of human immunoglobulin were used. There have been several studies suggesting direct inhibition of cytokines. The best results are seen with stem cell injection. They have a positive effect on the state of human immunity, as they eliminate immune disorders and stimulate the work of neurons in the brain.

Preclinical studies show that intravenous stem cells can migrate into the brain parenchyma, reduce the consequences of its damage, and even repair damaged areas. The proposed mechanism of action is associated not with the transformation of stem cells into neurons, but with the release of growth factors that trigger reparative processes and angiogenesis (the formation of new vessels).

Most studies showing good results in autism use stem cells from the patient's own cord blood, but this must be prepared in advance at birth. Not all patients have cord blood supplies. Therefore, doctors can also use alternative methods of obtaining stem cells. They are taken from bone marrow, adipose tissue, or peripheral blood. The optimal source of mesenchymal stem cells is adipose tissue - here they are found in high concentration.

Studies confirming the effectiveness of SCs

Cellular regenerative therapy is a relatively young and poorly studied field of medicine. It is mainly used in oncohematology, orthopedics and neurology. More and more studies are being conducted to assess the effectiveness of stem cell use in various pathologies. Over the past 10 years, a dozen studies have been carried out around the world to test the effectiveness of SC in autism. This is still not enough to recommend the technique as a standard treatment for the disease. The results are encouraging, however, as the majority of children treated with stem cell therapy have made significant improvements in social, emotional, behavioral and intellectual spheres.

Studies conducted at Duke University

In the United States, the possibility of using stem cells in autism is being actively studied. The first stage was completed in 2017. The children were treated with stem cells from their own umbilical cord blood. According to the results of the study, the method was recognized as safe and potentially effective. The study involved 25 children from 2 to 6 years old with confirmed autism spectrum disorder.

Six months after the stem cell injection, the patients showed improvement that affected behavioral responses, social and intellectual functions. All children have improved attention and speech. Patients with initially higher levels of non-verbal intelligence were able to achieve more tangible results.

The second stage of the study immediately followed. This time, scientists at Duke University decided to test the influence of allogeneic (donor) stem cells on the development of children with autism. The study involved patients from 2 to 11 years old. Intravenous injection of stem cells was carried out 4 times with a break of 2 months. The results of the study have not been published yet.

Results of Gracie Gregory

Statistics have no face. Dry numbers indicating improvement in a certain number of patients do not motivate parents to choose treatment. To boost confidence in a new treatment for autism spectrum disorders, doctors at Duke University posted a video featuring the family of one of their patients: Gracie Gregory.

Gracie was 7 years old at the time the video was published. Her older sister Riley claims that before the treatment she was very afraid of her and never sat down next to her. When Riley approached, Gracie threw a tantrum. Today the girl does not remember this.

When she was 2 years old, she was diagnosed with autism. The usual methods did not give good results: the first classes led to the fact that the girl screamed, spat, and once even hit the doctor. Routine hygiene practices can be aggressive. Parents claim that the use of stem cells has completely changed their lives. They used to spend 75% of their time caring for their daughter, but now they spend only 10% on it.

Gracie's parents were asked to rate their daughter's improvements on a scale of 1-10. They gave a score of 8-9. The parents were especially pleased that Gracie went to a regular comprehensive school. It used to be considered impossible.

6 months after the last intravenous injection of stem cells, the parents noticed a significant improvement in the girl's condition. Since then, the severity of the pathology has been steadily decreasing, despite the fact that cell therapy is no longer performed. Some symptoms still persist, but it is clear that Gracie is not who she was.

Translational Medicine Study

The Sutter Institute for Neurobiology conducted a placebo-controlled study. It was attended by 29 children. To treat autism, doctors used the patients' own cord blood, which contains stem cells. The results were positive: 12 weeks later, there was a significant improvement in socialization in the children receiving the stem cells compared to the placebo group. The Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales were used to assess the results.

The essence of the study: 

  1. Patients were divided into two groups. 
  2. One group received stem cells, while the second one received a placebo (dummy). 
  3. After 12 and 24 weeks, the treatment outcomes were evaluated.
  4. Repeated infusions with group rotation: now placebo recipients are treated with stem cells, and vice versa (patients themselves do not know what treatment they are receiving).

The researchers themselves noted that the treatment is safe. However, in order to evaluate its effectiveness, they need further studies with more patients.

Parents of children in this clinical study reported clear improvements. Jennifer Lundberg, the mother of a boy named Hayden, said she was impressed with the results. In her opinion, they can in no way be a simple coincidence, the result of the natural development of the brain. The fact is that Jennifer has been using standard methods of treatment for over 4 years. They managed to achieve certain results, but after using stem cells, they became much better. And they were achieved much faster! Hayden's mother claims that she noticed positive changes in her son's behavior 2 weeks after the end of the course of intravenous infusion of stem cells.

Shandong Jiaotong Hospital Study

Another study on the use of stem cells in autism was conducted in China. It was attended by 37 children aged 3 to 12 years. The study used donor cells:

  • Cord blood
  • Umbilical cord mesenchymal SCs  

The effect was evaluated in points, taking into account a number of criteria, such as social interaction, emotions, communication, reaction to visual images. As a result, good and excellent outcomes were obtained:

The effect was scored based on a number of criteria, such as social interaction, emotions, communication, reaction to visual images. The results were good and excellent:

  • In 88.89% of cases (8 out of 9 patients) in the mesenchymal stem cell use group 
  • In 50% of children (7 out of 14) in the umbilical cord blood group 
  • In 7.69% (one out of fourteen) patients in the placebo group 

 

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What are the expected results of autism treatment with stem cells in Germany?

 

There are currently no effective standard treatments for autism. In most countries, only psychological and pedagogical correction is used, which helps children with autism spectrum disorders to adapt in society. However, many parents are not completely satisfied with the results of such treatment. Cell therapy can be used as an additional method. This is already practiced in some clinics in developed countries.

After the stem cell injection, the results develop gradually. The first positive changes appear only after a few weeks. They are constantly improving even after a single injection of stem cells. If they are administered several times, with a break of 1-2 months, the results of treatment can be achieved faster and become even more noticeable to parents.

As a result of stem cell therapy, the following results can be achieved: 

  • Improvement of the child's eye contact.  
  • Improvement of attention. The child can respond to his name and show interest in other people. 
  • A pointing gesture and handling skills appear. 
  • Formation of imagination, the ability to play.
  • Improving communication skills: the child develops speech, he begins to express his desires and perceive the emotions of other people.
  • Ability to perform targeted actions. 
  • A child learns to switch between different types of behavior. 
  • A child begins to smile, show emotions, use facial expressions and gestures. 
  • A child learns to perceive the whole, but not to see individual fragments. 
  • A child can better plan and coordinate his movements. 

All these results take several months to achieve. In addition to stem cells, methods of pedagogical, behavioral and psychotherapeutic correction should be used. Only a combination of different treatments can give stable results. Stem cells help a child learn new skills better, develop speech, communication and social interaction faster.

Seventy percent of patients on treatment have seen sustained improvement. In 10% of cases, children can fully recover. In the future, they will not have any manifestations of autism. They can normally communicate with others, create families and have professional achievements.

Atypical autism and Kanner's syndrome have the worst prognosis. These pathologies are often accompanied by mental retardation, which limits treatment options. However, when using stem cells, the effectiveness of complex therapy can increase due to the restoration of brain functions.

Comprehensive treatment of autism in Germany

 

In addition to stem cells, the patient requires periodic or continuous treatment aimed at correcting behavior, speech and education of the child.

  1. Logopedic correction. Many children lose their ability to speak or become very poor, and some do not develop it at all. The goal of treatment is to restore speech as early as possible so that the child can continue to develop intellectually. Speech therapy work is focused on replenishing vocabulary, developing auditory attention. Untimely speech correction leads to mental retardation.
  2. Neuropsychological correction. It includes a set of exercises to develop communication skills and cognitive functions of the brain. The child trains the muscles of the tongue and jaw, hand motility, performs exercises to relax the nervous system.
  3. Music therapy. It has not only a psychotherapeutic effect, but also improves the perception of information. Research shows that this line of treatment allows you to better build relationships with others.
  4. Psychosocial therapy. Allows you to form emotionality, motivational and volitional qualities, communication skills with others. This type of treatment is especially important when the child is growing up, as the lack of social skills is especially acute during adolescence.
  5. Other methods. The doctors may use hippotherapy, dolphin therapy, physical exercises, physiotherapy, massage, pool exercises. 

 

Estimated cost of stem cell therapy for autism:

 Price
Stem cell therapy for autism from €17,970
  

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Where can patients with autism receive medical care in Germany?

 

When signs of autism appear, therapy should be started as soon as possible to develop speech and avoid mental retardation. In Germany, you can undergo both diagnosis and treatment. Some clinics use stem cells to combat this pathology. Cellular therapy complements other treatments, allowing doctors to experience more tangible results.

In particular, the Clinic of Advanced Biological Medicine in Frankfurt-am-Main offers cell therapy. The cost of stem cell treatment for autism in the Department of Alternative Medicine starts from €17,970.

You can book a treatment program through the Booking Health company. Here are some of our services and benefits: 

  • Selection of the best clinic that has experience in treating autism with stem cells and demonstrates the best results.
  • Reducing the cost of treatment by up to 50% due to the absence of overpricing and additional coefficients for foreign patients.
  • Making an appointment for the dates most suitable for you.
  • Preparation of the program, taking into account the previously performed studies.
  • Establishing communication directly with the attending physician.
  • Control of all stages of the program.
  • Insurance against the increase in the cost of treatment in case of complications (coverage 200,000 euros, valid for 4 years).
  • Account control, return of unspent funds.
  • Purchase and shipping of medicines.
  • Organization of additional diagnostic or therapeutic procedures.
  • Communication with the clinic upon treatment completion.

Booking Health will provide you with the highest quality services. We will book airline tickets for you, a hotel room, meet you at the airport in Germany and take you to the clinic by car. After the completion of the autism stem cell treatment program, we will arrange a return transfer.

 

Choose treatment abroad and you will get the best results surely!

 


Authors: Dr. Vadim ZhiliukDr. Nadezhda Ivanisova

 

Sources:

National Center for Biotechnology Information

National Library of Medicine

Parent`s Guide to Cord Blood

 

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