Thursday, July 27, 2017

HEALTHIER YOU: Stem cells can save lives

BY DR. ANNETTE MAYES

DR. ANNETTE MAYES

It is a special day when a woman gives birth to a child. It is looked upon as a gift from heaven.

There are many gifts that come from the miracle of birth, and the umbilical cord is one of them. It not only connects a mother to her fetus, but it contains stem cells that can be used for tissue regeneration and to treat certain diseases.

July is National Cord Blood Awareness Month — a time when we work to increase public knowledge of the scientific discoveries that surround stem cells.

Umbilical cord blood donations pose little risk to donors, and the life-saving blood can be stored frozen for years (though there is a fee if it is stored through a private company).

Of the 4 million births in the United States each year, more than 90 percent of the stem cells in cord blood are discarded as medical waste.

CordbloodAwareness.org was created out of a need to increase awareness about the life-saving power of umbilical cord blood stem cells, and to help parents save them for their own family or donate them to help others.

Many diseases that plague African Americans can be treated with cord blood stem cells. African-American patients, like anyone else, may need transplants for leukemia, lymphoma, and inherited diseases such as severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID or “boy-in-the-bubble” syndrome) — and your baby’s cord blood can help.

In addition, African Americans are more likely than others to suffer from sickle cell disease — which is potentially fatal. Patients from other ethnic minority groups also have more difficulty finding unrelated bone marrow donors. Again, the problem is numerical. Minority groups simply have smaller numbers from which to draw potential donors. For this reason, cord blood banks established in other parts of the world could benefit many U.S. citizens.

So, if you pregnant and due to have a baby, remember when it comes time to check out of the hospital you might bring home more than your bundle of joy.

For additional information, contact the Las Vegas All Women’s Care Offices at (702) 522-9640. Or visit us at 700 Shadow Lane No. 165 (1st floor) in Las Vegas.

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