June 05, 2015

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory, critical thinking skills, and the ability to carry out certain tasks. It is very common, affecting millions of Americans, particularly senior citizens over young adults in their early stages of pregnancy who are considering cord blood banking. Alzheimer’s disease, otherwise known as “AD,” is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer, who noticed changes in the brain tissue of a woman who died in 1906 of a peculiar mental illness. After her death, he became aware that her symptoms involved memory loss, speech problems, and unpredictable behavior. He then examined her brain.

One of the pathological characteristics of AD is extracellular deposition of insoluble amyloid-β plaques and intracellular tangles in the brain, composed of phosphorylated tau. While there is currently no cure for AD, it is manageable, and scientists are currently engaged in stem cell research to find potential treatments, a few of which involve cord blood that mothers chose to donate to a public cord blood bank during their pregnancy stages. Several therapeutic approaches are being tested in animal AD models in order to evaluate their safety and potential use in humans. These therapies would alter the disease pathology and behavioral deficits, and it is possible that cord blood could be used for some of them, which is why it is important for expecting mothers to consider an umbilical cord blood banking service during their stages of pregnancy.

Cord blood banks are growing worldwide, but presently, there is not an overabundance of studies that have been conducted to evaluate whether or not cord blood is a viable treatment option for AD. However, as stem cell research continues to grow, there will likely be many researchers who will conduct these studies. Cord blood is currently used to treat more than 80 diseases, including cancer and anemia treatment, so it is a good idea to consider banking your child’s cord blood during your pregnancy stages. By the time they are older and more at risk for AD, cord blood may be a viable treatment option. The decision to bank your child’s cord blood (so that using it to treat AD or any other disease is even an option), is one that expecting mothers must make during their stages of pregnancy. Remember, cord blood already treats more than 80 diseases, and can be used for anemia treatment and other blood disorders.

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