Three-year old James Habeck and his family have returned from a medical trip to Panama. His mother Melissa Habeck said they are noticing signs of improvement as a result of the stem cell treatment James received at the Stem Cell Institute in Panama City, Panama.
Treatment is hoped to provide James with relief from some of the complications caused by his cerebral palsy and allow him to do things a toddler would normally be able to do such as talk, sit-up, walk, turn himself over in bed at night so he would have fewer sleeping issues, and use his hands and feet. Some with James’ condition have tight muscles, but James’ muscles are just limp.
Medical professionals told Melissa that the new stem cells would live actively in James for six months. During those six months of cell life, whatever James learns and the strength he gains should remain. This week he was fitted for a wheelchair and evaluated to see if an augmented and alternative communication device could help him communicate. If he can train his eyes to look at a particular item on the device his family will know what he is trying to communicate to them.
James had stem cells that were extracted from donated umbilical cords injected intravenously into his arms. The injections went fine some days but other days were problematic because his veins would rupture and the medical team would have to find a new vein. Melissa said by the end of the week both her and James were crying, but the staff was excellent in dealing with it.
The Habecks met an athletic coach who was receiving stem cell treatment in Panama for multiple sclerosis. He said he was walking with a walker prior to his treatments. A filming crew was with him documenting his progress as he no longer has to use a walker after undergoing multiple stem cell treatments.
Melissa said staff at the Stem Cell Institute said a number of autistic patients come there for treatment. Heart failure, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, spinal cord injury, and autoimmune diseases are also treated at the institute. Melissa said she has been in contact with individuals who tried stem cell treatments that were not successful. She said people who had their own cells taken and then transferred back into their bodies told her their treatments were unsuccessful. She also said some who had gone to other countries and did the spinal stem cell procedures said those results weren’t positive. Melissa said she feels very positive about James’ treatment.
He has a special walker that he can use if someone pushes it for him. “He took off by himself in his walker after treatment,” Melissa said. He has also started trying to use his arms and legs to stabilize himself. He has more neck control and is trying to use his neck to raise his head. He has also shown improvement in efforts to gain eye contact with those who are talking to him. He has to fight for control as his eyes both stray separate ways.
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