Mental disorders are disorders that affect either the thinking, mood, and/or behavior of an individual, and which interfere with daily life. The prevalence of such disorders has been increasing throughout the 21stcentury across different demographics. Mental health disorders normally arise from a combination of genetic and environmental factors, which can make treatment for these disorders rather complex. Most mental health disorders are discovered between the ages 14-24, but they are prevalent at all ages. According to recent studies, it has been estimated that 1 in 3 individuals have suffered from a mental health disorder during their lifetime and many are not receiving the necessary treatment for those disorders . The most common psychiatric disorders include substance abuse disorders. This is followed by mood disorders, such as depressive disorder, and anxiety disorders. Many times, these disorders are comorbid which can make treatment difficult . With mental illness becoming more common within the medical community, it is imperative to find effective methods of treatment.
Currently, the most common treatments include medication, such as SSRI, in combination with cognitive behavioral therapy. However, difficulties with treatment arise from the biological and chemical differences between individuals. That unique biological and chemical nature leads to treatment being a complex process which is different for every individual. Stem cells provide an opportunity for observing the progression of a disease at an individual level. Currently, there are several studies underway to test the effectiveness of pluripotent stem cells on different psychological disorders.
Stem cells are cells that have the potential to develop and differentiate into other cells of specialized function. These types of cells show promise in being able to treat and cure diseases because of their ability to replace damaged tissue and restore cell function. There are two types of stem cells which are embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cells (ESC) are pluripotent which means that these cells can give rise to any cell from the three germ layers. This category of stem cell comes from the blastocyst which develops shortly after fertilization. These types of cells show the greatest promise because the cells can self-renew for the longest period, but ESC can lead to the formation of teratomas. The proliferation and spontaneity of these ESCs can lead to the formation of this tumor tissue. Adult stem cells (ASC) however are multipotent which means that these stem cells have a limited differentiation potential, based on their location. ASC are commonly isolated from the bone marrow . This class of stem cell is used to replace cells of a specific organ. The purpose of stem cells is to replace damaged cells in the body. Stem cells are also used to better understand the underlying biology of the human body and to study the progression of differentiation of different types of cells. Understanding of this process can allow researchers to determine the progression of a disease and elucidates potential avenues for treatment. Stem cell treatment has been shown to assist with several different disorders . For example, hematopoietic stem cells can assist in replacing healthy blood cells, and skin stem cells can be used to help patients with skin conditions or extreme burns. Clinical trials have shown great potential for the use of stem cells as a treatment but there are challenges to using stem cells, such as ethical issues or rejection.
Stem cells provide great promise in the treatment for a variety of diseases and traumas. Within this literature review, stem cell treatment for psychological disorders will be studied. This research will examine the history of the relationships between stem cells and psychological disorder treatment, human studies and animal studies, and the challenges of utilizing stem cells within this area of focus.
While there is no definitive and widely accepted "cure" for depression through stem cell treatments. Depression is a complex mental health disorder that involves various biological, psychological, and environmental factors. While stem cell therapy holds promise in various medical fields, including neurological conditions, its application to treating depression is still a subject of ongoing research and clinical investigation.
Here are some important points to consider:
Research Status: Researchers are exploring the potential of stem cell therapy to modulate brain function and potentially alleviate symptoms of depression. This research is in its early stages, and the exact mechanisms by which stem cells might influence mood and depressive symptoms are not fully understood.
Neuroregeneration: Some researchers are investigating the potential of stem cells to promote neuroregeneration and the growth of new neurons in the brain. The idea is that this process could help improve brain function and alleviate symptoms of depression.
Neuroinflammation: There's evidence to suggest that inflammation in the brain might play a role in depression. Some types of stem cells have anti-inflammatory properties, and researchers are exploring whether these properties could be harnessed to reduce neuroinflammation and potentially improve mood.
Ethical and Safety Considerations: The use of stem cell therapy for mental health conditions raises ethical and safety concerns. Ensuring the safety of individuals receiving the treatment and understanding the potential risks is of utmost importance.
Clinical Trials: Clinical trials are necessary to determine the safety and efficacy of stem cell treatments for depression. These trials help researchers understand the potential benefits and any possible side effects.
Complexity of Depression: Depression is a multifaceted condition with a range of possible underlying causes. Not all cases of depression are the same, and effective treatment often involves a combination of approaches, including therapy, medication, lifestyle changes, and social support.
Consulting Mental Health Professionals: If you or someone you know is dealing with depression, it's crucial to consult with mental health professionals who are knowledgeable about evidence-based treatments. They can provide guidance on the most effective approaches for managing depression.
While stem cell therapy holds promise for various medical applications, including neurological and mental health conditions, it's important to rely on reputable medical sources and consult with qualified professionals for accurate and up-to-date information.