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Autism, Stem Cells and Inflammation

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Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact. A milestone article was published in 2005 that showed autistic patients have active inflammation in the brain and suggested that future therapies might involve modifying inflammatory responses in the brain.[1] In 2007, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recognized that addressing underlying medical conditions, such as active inflammation, can eliminate the need for psychopharmacological agents in autism.[2] A 2010 consensus report from Massachusetts General, the teaching hospital for Harvard University, reviewed evidence connecting inflammation with GI issues, disordered sleep and problem behaviors such as aggression, irritability and self-injuring.[3] In 2011, researchers found that autistic children also have more systemic inflammation than non-autistic children, specifically higher inflammatory cytokines in their blood, which may reflect a dysfunctional immune activation.[4] Different researchers also found in 2013 that autistic children have more inflammation than non-autistic children in regards to inflammatory MDC (macrophage-derived chemokine) and TARC (thymus and activation-regulated chemokine) blood levels.[5] MDC and TARC are produced by locally inflamed tissues and these levels were significantly correlated to the degree of the severity of autism.

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Because stem cells were shown to reduce inflammation and modulate the immune system, doctors decided to give stem cells to a boy with autism and he had a positive benefit.[6] He had no side effects to treatment and noticed slight improvements in 1 week, such as eye contact, attention, hand writing and fine motor activities like buttoning a shirt.

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After 6 months:

  • Aggression in activities and hyperactivity reduced 45 to 50%.
  • Improvements in impulse control, reading skills, tracing, recognition of all shapes and following commands.
  • His clinical autism assessment score (CARS) reduced from 42.5 (Severely autistic) to 23.5 (Non-Autistic).
  • Clinically assessed mildly autistic.
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After 1 year:

  • Peer activity increased significantly
  • New task learning abilities improved (household work)
  • Comprehension and ability to follow commands improved significantly
  • Self-insight and appropriate emotional responses developed


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Enhanced PET scan brain function was also visualized. The metabolic activity, indicated by more lit up areas of the brain, improved on all views.

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The authors’ conclusions were, “All these improvements have led to improved quality of life of the patient as well as the family.”

Later that same year, a clinical trial for treating autism was carried out using three different rehabilitation groups: two with different stem cell therapies using human cord blood mononuclear cells

(CBMNCs), CBMNCs and umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells (UCMSCs) and one control group.[7]

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Methods summary:

  • 37 autistic patients
  • Age 3 to 12
  • 4 stem cells infusions


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After a 24-week follow-up, no major adverse effects were noted. Compared with the control group, both stem cell groups had numerous improvements in the following areas:

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  • Visual
  • Emotional/intellectual responses
  • Body use
  • Adaption to change
  • Fear/nervousness
  • Nonverbal communication
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  • Activity level
  • Lethargy/social withdrawal
  • Stereotypic behavior
  • Hyperactivity
  • Inappropriate speech
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Transplantation of CBMNCs demonstrated efficacy compared to the control group, but the combination of CBMNCs + UCMSCs showed larger therapeutic effects. In 2017, there were 10 clinical trials registered using stem cells to treat autism.

For a long time, ASDs were not considered physiological diseases. ASDs were mostly considered social or emotional disorders and almost all “treatments” were behavioral and educational approaches. However, stem cells and other supportive therapies have shown us that physiological treatments can improve ASDs by addressing the following impacted processes:[8]

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  • Oxidative stress
  • Endoplasmic reticulum stress
  • Decreased methylation capacity
  • Limited production of glutathione


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  • Mitochondrial dysfunction
  • Intestinal dysbiosis
  • Increased toxic metal burden
  • Immune dysregulation
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If you know anyone with ASD, please do not ignore that they have a physiological disease that can improve with physiological therapies, especially using a comprehensive treatment program.

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A. K.’s Story

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A.K. starting having symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at 2 years of age. He is now 16 years old. His mother said, “It’s not possible to describe the struggles for him and the suffering and sacrifices that I’ve had for years.” She described that she couldn’t even imagine what it was like for him to be trapped in his own body. From the moment A.K. was able to walk, he was running she stated. She had no time to eat or shower and did not even notice when she lost about 15 pounds unintentionally. There were even times that the police needed to be called to go get A.K. because he was so fast and at any point he would run out of the house, car, etc

A.K.’s mother has seen over 16 different doctors to try and help her son. All except a few told her, “This is what it is and you’re going to have to accept it.” Also, many doctors said if she thinks that her son is going to get better, she is being delusional because that’s not going to happen. She was told to be realistic, he’s not going to get better and going to get worse if anything.

On December 5th, 2018, A.K. was given his first stem cell IV and supportive supplements at Stem Spa. In a follow-up interview on January 17th, 2019, A.K.’s mother said, “He is a different child.” She explained several examples of improvement. “Anything that was liquid, like if you were drinking coffee and it was sitting on the table, or a pop, he would take it and dump it all over. He would open the refrigerator, take a gallon of milk and spill it all over. Well, that stopped right away. Other things like no more running at all and he’s listening. I just called the teacher right now, it’s amazing. He told me that this whole week, no behaviors anymore…nothing, nothing, nothing! The work that they would give him, like sometimes they will give him 14 different tasks, we don’t even have to ask him anymore. He goes and does the work on his own. Today he was playing basketball with a boy, interacting.” His posture has changed too she said. He used to hunch his back as she described as “stooping over.” After being sent to physical therapy and a chiropractor, A.K.’s posture still had not improved. She exclaimed that almost two days after stem cell treatment, A.K. was standing completely straight.

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1. Vargas, D.L., et al., Neuroglial activation and neuroinflammation in the brain of patients with autism. Ann Neurol, 2005. 57(1): p. 67-81.

2. Myers, S.M. and C.P. Johnson, Management of children with autism spectrum disorders. Pediatrics, 2007. 120(5): p. 1162-1182.

3. Buie, T., et al., Evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of gastrointestinal disorders in individuals with ASDs: a consensus report. Pediatrics, 2010. 125(Supplement 1): p. S1-S18.

4. Ashwood, P., et al., Altered T cell responses in children with autism. Brain Behav Immun, 2011. 25(5): p. 840-9.

5. AL-Ayadhi, L.Y. and G.A. Mostafa, Elevated serum levels of macrophage-derived chemokine and thymus and activation-regulated chemokine in autistic children. Journal of neuroinflammation, 2013. 10(1): p. 846.

6. Sharma, A., et al., An improved case of autism as revealed by PET CT scan in patient transplanted with autologous bone marrow derived mononuclear cells. J Stem Cell Res Ther, 2013. 3(139): p. 2.

7. Lv, Y.T., et al., Transplantation of human cord blood mononuclear cells and umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells in autism. J Transl Med, 2013. 11: p. 196.

8. Pham, P.V., Neurological Regeneration: Stem Cell in Clinical Applications. 2017: Cham: Springer.