Stem Cell Therapy for Diffuse Axonal Injury

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and disability among the young population in the United States. Statistics show that over one million Americans suffer from TBI every year. The Brain Injury Association of America reports that more than 40% of these TBIs that result in hospital admissions are diagnosed as Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI). 

Things take on a graver perspective when you consider the fact that research has shown that 1 in 4 of every diagnosed DAI case ends in patient fatalities. This article aims to address the subject of what DAI is and its causes. It also provides answers to the question, “Can stem cells repair brain damage?” and gives insights into the promising therapeutic roles of stem cells for brain damage.

Stem Cell Therapy for Diffuse Axonal Injury

What Is Diffuse Axonal Injury?

Diffuse Axonal Injury is a type of traumatic brain injury that is marked by widespread damage to connecting nerve fibers in the brain (axons). Axons are cells responsible for transmitting information via impulses across the body. When they are damaged, the body becomes impaired in several ways, depending on the location and extent of the damage.

According to the above statistics, DAI is one of the most common types of traumatic brain injury, and in severe cases, it can lead to coma or death.

Get a free online consultation

Contact us to learn about the expected results of stem cell treatment for peptic ulcer disease, its cost and duration, and what the treatment involves.

Stem Cell Therapy for Diffuse Axonal Injury
Dr. Aleksandra Fetyukhina, MD

Medical Advisor, Swiss Medica doctor

Causes of Diffuse Axonal Injury

Several factors or conditions can result in the development of DAI. The most prevalent cause of DAI is exposure to situations involving rapid deceleration or acceleration. Those are typically experienced in car accidents, violent attacks, or even serious sports accidents. 

One common factor during these events is that the brain is forced to shift and rotate in the skull rapidly after some sort of intervention. This involuntary movement is what primarily causes the neuronal fibers in the brain to shear and tear.

Shaken Baby Syndrome can also cause DAI. Shaken Baby Syndrome is usually seen in cases of child abuse, and it occurs when infants are subjected to violent shaking, an act that causes the brain to move in the skull.

It is important to mention that although DAI is known to result in brain damage after violent trauma to the head, usually these changes are microscopic and spread out. Because of these, they can be difficult to pick out on a computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging (CT or MRI) scan.

Symptoms of Diffuse Axonal Injury

As mentioned earlier, DAI is usually marked by damage to several parts of the brain. The specific symptoms and the extent of their severity depend on what parts of the brain are affected. However, one symptom that is always present in every case of DAI is temporary unconsciousness.

This could then be backed up with other different types of symptoms. Let us have a closer look at what those other symptoms may be.

Cognitive Symptoms

Cognitive symptoms refer to difficulties with mental processes such as thinking, memory, perception, and problem-solving. These may manifest themselves as confusion, forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating, or impaired judgment, impacting an individual’s ability to function effectively in daily life. In conditions like dementia or schizophrenia, cognitive symptoms are often prominent and can significantly disrupt an individual’s cognition. 

Some of the symptoms in the case of Diffuse Axonal Injury include:

  • Memory impairment
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Confusion
  • Cognitive fatigue
  • Slowed thinking

Physical and Motor Symptoms

Physical symptoms refer to observable manifestations of a medical condition or disorder that are evident to both the individual and others, such as tremors, muscle weakness, or difficulty walking. 

Motor symptoms specifically pertain to impairments in movement control, encompassing issues like involuntary movements (such as twitching or jerking), rigidity, or slowed movements (bradykinesia), commonly seen in conditions like Parkinson’s disease. They can significantly impact daily functioning and quality of life, often requiring medical intervention and management.

Some of the symptoms in the case of Diffuse Axonal Injury include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sensory disturbances (e.g., changes in vision, hearing, or touch)
  • Lack of coordination or balance issues
  • Weakness or paralysis
  • Tremors or seizures
  • Abnormal reflexes.

Communication and Language Symptoms

  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty understanding or expressing language
  • Problems with reading or writing

People with diffuse axonal injuries may also face sleep disturbances and varying degrees of autonomic dysfunction.  

Stem Cell Therapy for Diffuse Axonal Injury

The Diagnoses of DAI

Alt: The doctor is looking at the MRI of the brain

Currently, there are no clinically appropriate diagnostic tests for confirming the presence of DAI. However, health professionals currently use the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) scores of a patient to determine the incidence and extent of brain damage and impairment. 

This is assessed by summing up the scores from three distinct categories, resulting in a score ranging from a minimum of 3 to a maximum of 15. A lower score signifies a greater degree of impairment. Individuals with diffuse axonal injury (DAI) usually exhibit a Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score of less than 8 for a duration exceeding 6 hours. 

The GCS works by allowing physicians to assess three major components of neurological function. These include eye-opening, verbal, and motor responses. Each category has specific tasks the patient will be asked to perform, and each component task has its own assigned score. The categories assessed in the GCS comprise:

Eye Opening (E):

  • 4 points: Eyes open spontaneously
  • 3 points: Eyes open in response to verbal stimuli
  • 2 points: Eyes open in response to pain (e.g., pressure applied to the nail bed)
  • 1 point: No eye opening

Verbal Response (V):

  • 5 points: Oriented and able to converse coherently
  • 4 points: Confused, but able to answer questions
  • 3 points: Inappropriate words or responses
  • 2 points: Incomprehensible speech
  • 1 point: No verbal response

Motor Response (M):

  • 6 points: Obeys commands (e.g., raises arms when asked)
  • 5 points: Localizes pain (e.g., moves hand to the site of pain)
  • 4 points: Withdraws from pain (e.g., pulls away from a painful stimulus)
  • 3 points: Flexion in response to pain (decorticate posturing)
  • 2 points: Extension in response to pain (decerebrate posturing)
  • 1 point: No motor response

At the end of the exercise, the patient’s scores are summed up, and the total falls within the range of 3-15. Lower GCS scores indicate the patient has more severe impairment from brain damage.

*Please note that although these are generally accepted values, their interpretation will vary from individual to individual. It’s always recommended to consult with a medical professional or inquire at the medical institution where the test was taken.

Treatment of Brain Damage

Currently, DAI treatment focuses on swelling reduction and rehabilitation in cases where damage isn’t too severe. However, brain damage caused by DAI usually has long-term consequences that persist even after rehabilitation programs have been completed. 

That said, in recent years, the field of DAI treatment has undergone some remarkable advances, especially in the area of stem cell treatment. Several studies have shown that using stem cells for brain damage treatment can be very effective in reversing the effects of DAI damage.  

How Does Stem Cell Treatment Help Brain Injury?

It is important to mention that there are different types of stem cells, and each type has been identified to play specific roles in stem cell therapy for brain injury. They include the following:

Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Mesenchymal stem cells have been discovered to contribute significantly to the regeneration of damaged tissues by replacing lost cells and reversing inflammation resulting from DAI. These stem cells are also capable of secreting trophic factors like TGF-α and β (Transforming Growth Factor-alpha and beta), aHGF (Hepatocyte Growth Factor), and VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor).

TGF-α and TGF-β are cytokines involved in regulating cell growth, proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis. In stem cell therapy, they play roles in modulating the behavior of stem cells, influencing their self-renewal and differentiation into specific cell types.

HGF is a cytokine primarily known for its role in promoting the growth and repair of various tissues, particularly the liver. In stem cell therapy, HGF can enhance the survival and proliferation of stem cells, as well as facilitate their integration into damaged tissues.

VEGF is a cytokine that stimulates the formation of new blood vessels, a process known as angiogenesis. In stem cell therapy, VEGF is often utilized to improve blood supply to damaged tissues, promote the survival and function of transplanted stem cells, and facilitate tissue regeneration.

Multipotent Adult Progenitor Cells

Knowledge of multipotent adult progenitor cells has been around since 2002; however, their role in brain damage repair wasn’t fully understood. However, the newest stem cell treatments for brain injury have incorporated the use of MAP stem cells with significant success, especially in areas of information retention, spatial learning, and inflammation reduction.

Endothelial Progenitor Cells

Endothelial progenitor stem cells’ brain repair capabilities have been discovered to be focused on Blood-Brain barrier repair. These cells help promote damaged brain tissues and blood vessels, ultimately promoting better neurological function in DAI patients.

Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Since their discovery in 2006, induced pluripotent stem cells have been demonstrated to be quite efficacious in treating brain damage. Their success has been attributed to their ability to migrate to injured areas and differentiate into different cell types across neural cell lines, effectively promoting neural damage repair and cognitive function improvement. 

However, for now, these cells are mainly used in experimental research. Studies have highlighted the risks of tumorigenicity with iPSC technology. 

Neural Stem Cells

Neural stem cell transplants for brain damage have been shown to enhance cognitive and motor function.

Advantages of Stem Cell Therapy at Swiss Medica Clinic

At the Swiss Medica Clinic, we perfectly understand the relationship between stem cells and brain repair. Therefore, we offer stem cell transplants for brain injury with results that far transcend the normal. When you choose Swiss Medica Clinic as your stem cell transplant provider for brain damage treatment, here are some of the advantages you stand to gain:

  • Specialty Treatment: Swiss Medica specializes in the most advanced stem cell for brain injury treatments. Our cutting-edge therapies involve the use of multiple stem cell products, including umbilical cells, placental cells, autologous bone marrow cells, neuronal cells, the stromal vascular fraction (SVF), and fibroblasts.
  • Expert Team: with us, you have access to an expert, interconnected team of 250+ specialists with wide ranges of expertise in their roles and proficiency in guiding you towards expected health outcomes.
  • Comprehensive Treatment Process: our treatment process involves a collaborative approach between you and our team of experts. We guide you through every step of the way, from initial consultation to tailored treatment plan development and the treatment process itself.

Cost of Therapy Program for Diffuse Axonal Injury

The cost of stem cell therapy can fluctuate, contingent upon the treatment regimen, with costs typically falling between €7,000 and €25,000. To ascertain the precise cost of a therapy program for emphysema, book a free consultation with us, and we’ll help you gain insight into their requirements and potential treatment paths.

Contact Us

Do you want evidence-based stem cell therapies that put your needs first and prioritize your wellness? Swiss Medica is the perfect place for you. For questions or more clarifications on how we use stem cell therapy for treating Diffuse Axonal Injury, do reach out to us. We will be glad to provide you with all the assistance you need.

Get a free online consultation

Contact us to learn about the expected result for your case, the personal treatment program, its costs and duration.

Stem Cell Therapy for Diffuse Axonal Injury
Dr. Aleksandra Fetyukhina, MD

Medical Advisor, Swiss Medica doctor

List of References

  1. Bedi SS, Walker PA, Shah SK, Jimenez F, Thomas CP, Smith P, Hetz RA, Xue H, Pati S, Dash PK, Cox CS Jr. Autologous bone marrow mononuclear cells therapy attenuates activated microglial/macrophage response and improves spatial learning after traumatic brain injury. J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2013 Sep;75(3):410-6. doi: 10.1097/TA.0b013e31829617c6. PMID: 23928737; PMCID: PMC4086922.

  2. Schepici G, Silvestro S, Bramanti P, Mazzon E. Traumatic Brain Injury and Stem Cells: An Overview of Clinical Trials, the Current Treatments and Future Therapeutic Approaches. Medicina (Kaunas). 2020 Mar 19;56(3):137. doi: 10.3390/medicina56030137. PMID: 32204311; PMCID: PMC7143935.

  3. Jain S, Iverson LM. Glasgow Coma Scale. [Updated 2023 Jun 12]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513298/

  4. An Overview of Diffuse Axonal Injury. Brain Injury Association of America. Available from: https://www.biausa.org/professionals/research/tbi-model-systems/an-overview-of-diffuse-axonal-injury.  [Accessed 07/03/24].

  5. David J. Thurman, Clinton Alverson, Doug Browne, Kathleen A. Dunn and others. Report to Congress: Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States. Division of Acute Care, Rehabilitation Research, and Disability Prevention. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/pubs/tbi_report_to_congress.html#:~:text=Each%20year%20an%20estimated%201.5,50%2C000%20people%20die. [Accessed 07/03/24].

  6. Pauline Anderson. Stem Cells Restore Lost Function in Traumatic Brain Injury, Medscape. April 07, 2022, Available from: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/971774#vp_2. [Accessed 07/03/24].

  7. Zhou, Y., Shao, A., Xu, W., Wu, H., & Deng, Y. (2019). Advance of Stem Cell Treatment for Traumatic Brain Injury. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 13, 444426. https://doi.org/10.3389/fncel.2019.00301.

  8. Chaoliang Zhong, Miao Liu, Xinghua Pan, Haiying Zhu, Tumorigenicity risk of iPSCs in vivo: nip it in the bud, Precision Clinical Medicine, Volume 5, Issue 1, March 2022, pbac004, https://doi.org/10.1093/pcmedi/pbac004.

  9. Cox CS Jr, Hetz RA, Liao GP, Aertker BM, Ewing-Cobbs L, Juranek J, Savitz SI, Jackson ML, Romanowska-Pawliczek AM, Triolo F, Dash PK, Pedroza C, Lee DA, Worth L, Aisiku IP, Choi HA, Holcomb JB, Kitagawa RS. Treatment of Severe Adult Traumatic Brain Injury Using Bone Marrow Mononuclear Cells. Stem Cells. 2017 Apr;35(4):1065-1079. doi: 10.1002/stem.2538. Epub 2016 Nov 23. PMID: 27800660; PMCID: PMC5367945.

  10. Masahito Kawabori, MD, PhD, Alan H. Weintraub, MD, Hideaki Imai, MD, PhD, Iaroslav Zinkevych, MD, Peter McAllister, MD, Gary K. Steinberg, MD, PhD, Benjamin M. Frishberg, MD, Takao Yasuhara, MD, and many more. Cell Therapy for Chronic TBI. Interim Analysis of the Randomized Controlled STEMTRA Trial. Neurology® 2021;96:e1202-e1214. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000011450.

More sources
swiss medica photo
Dr. Nina Author

MD, Physician in General Medicine, Gastroenterology, Rheumatology, Pulmonology, Cardiology. Regenerative specialist

Natalia Semeshina
Doctor Lana Reviewer

May interest you


We use cookies on our site to ensure that we give you the best browsing experience. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Cookie Policy and Privacy Policy.

Got it