Biologic Therapies for Aging Discs Big Rapids MI

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Jerome Arthur Conrad
(231) 796-6721
650 Linden St
Big Rapids, MI
Specialty
Orthopedic Surgery

Data Provided By:
Jerome Arthur Conrad, MD
(231) 796-6721
650 Linden St Ste 2
Big Rapids, MI
Specialties
Orthopedics
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Georgetown Univ Sch Of Med, Washington Dc 20007
Graduation Year: 1964
Hospital
Hospital: Mecosta County Gen Hospital, Big Rapids, Mi
Group Practice: Big Rapids Orthopaedics

Data Provided By:
Aleksandar Tosic
(231) 796-6721
650 Linden St
Big Rapids, MI
Specialty
Orthopedic Surgery

Data Provided By:
Thomas G Ryan, MD
(269) 343-1535
2490 S 11th St
Kalamazoo, MI
Business
Kalamazoo Orthopaedic Clinic
Specialties
Orthopedics

Data Provided By:
Mark Andrew Kamil
(248) 661-4700
6621 W Maple Rd
W Bloomfield, MI
Specialty
Orthopedic Surgery

Data Provided By:
Aleksandar Tosic, MD
650 Linden St Ste 2
Big Rapids, MI
Specialties
Orthopedics
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Edvarda Kardelja V Ljubljani, Med Fak, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Graduation Year: 1985

Data Provided By:
Sudhir Balkrishna Rao
(231) 796-6721
650 Linden St
Big Rapids, MI
Specialty
Orthopedic Surgery

Data Provided By:
Paul E Roose
(231) 832-7000
225 N State St
Reed City, MI
Specialty
Orthopedic Surgery

Data Provided By:
Alan Herbert Snider
(517) 423-7425
501 E Cummins St
Tecumseh, MI
Specialty
Orthopedic Surgery

Data Provided By:
John Anthony Boudreau, MD
Farmington, MI
Specialties
Orthopedics
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Wayne State Univ Sch Of Med, Detroit Mi 48201
Graduation Year: 2000

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Biologic Therapies for Aging Discs

The lines and wrinkles on our faces aren't the only signs of the inevitable aging process. Progressive degenerative changes have also been documented in the spine. One of the areas of great interest is the intervertebral disc . New biologic therapies for aging discs are the subject of this review article on the topic.

There are 33 vertebrae or spinal bones. Between each vertebra is a disc made of tough cartilage with a fluid center. These discs provide the cushion that allows your backbone to bend and twist. Discs also act like shock absorbers as we walk, run, and jump. Each vertebral segment consists of bone next to bone with a cartilage cushion between. They are tied together with connective tissue, ligaments, and tendons.

Degenerative disc disease is an example of something that affects most people as they get older. Everyone is going to have a certain amount of damage to the spine. This occurs throughout a lifetime. The discs can flatten, and protrude from between the bones. In time, most people will have small tears in the outer layers of these discs.

Finding ways to repair damage to the discs is the focus of many research studies. One of the most recent directions in research has been the use of biologic therapies to restore the disc. Examples of these treatment approaches include disc cell reimplantation, stem cell implantation, disc denervation, injection of therapeutic proteins, and gene therapy.

What are these therapies and how do they work? Biologic therapies of this type are meant to help at the cellular level. Scientists have shown that inside the cells of the disc there is a limited amount of blood flow. As a result, there are waste products building up. The cell becomes very acidic and that is a harsh environment that doesn't support cell health very well.

As we age, there are fewer new cells to replace the old. Fluid leaks out of the discs that never gets replaced. We start to lose the strength of the discs needed to cushion and support the spine. A loss of disc height can lead to disc space collapse.

That's what's happening on the inside at the cellular level. On the outside, the affected individual may not feel anything until the degenerative process has gone on quite a while. Eventually, back pain, loss of motion, and loss of function get our attention. By then, there may not be much that can be done to save the disc. Right now, surgery to remove the disc is often the only option.

That could change if any of these biologic therapies can be perfected. Right now they are still in the experimental stages. Most of the studies have been done on animals but a few human trials have been conducted.

For example, disc tissue reimplantation is a process in which a few healthy cells are removed from an intact disc. They are taken to a lab where they can be multiplied and then reinjected into the diseased disc. The hope is that the new, healthy cells will replace the damaged cells and restore the strength of t...

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