There are a number of contraindications for stem cell treatment for Lyme disease patients, namely the presence of any acute infection that remains untreated. Such therapy may affect a person’s ability to combat infection and, where epidural stem cell injections are carried out, could lead to a central nervous system infection with worse symptoms than previously suffered by the patient. Other contraindications may include autoimmune diseases, inflammatory illnesses, and psychiatric complications or conditions.
ALS and Lyme Disease
One of the conditions that may be suspected in cases of neurological Lyme disease is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. This is a rapidly progressing degenerative illness that eventually affects all organ systems in the body and is almost always fatal in a short period of time. Stem cell trials for ALS are underway to see if there is a benefit in slowing down or reversing the disease but it is often risky for patients to travel overseas for such treatment. The considerable debilitation associated with ALS can make the journey arduous, expensive, and dangerous should a medical emergency occur. Treatment may have the effect of temporarily slowing disease progression but, as there is currently no cure for ALS, this may simply prolong an already painful ordeal. Where Lyme disease is suspected as the cause of an ALS-like illness it may be that stem cell treatments are considered worth trying to slow down neural degeneration.
Lyme Disease, Psychological Health, and Stem Cell Treatments
Many patients with Lyme disease are told at one point or another in their diagnostic journey that their symptoms are psychological in nature. Where there is little, if any, physical evidence of an actual infection it is thought very risky to travel to an overseas stem cell clinic. Patients siffering from mental health issues are often more vulnerable to misleading marketing by overseas clinics and may give permission for experimental and risky stem cell procedures without being fully aware of the safety concerns. Patients with psychiatric illness may also be more likely to experience a placebo effect following overseas stem cell therapy, leading them to invest more in such endeavors to the detriment of other medical and psychiatric care they are receiving in their home country. Medical clinics, and the doctors working in them, have a duty to ascertain if a patient is capable of taking charge of their own health and not treating them with experimental protocols unless confident in the patient’s intellectual and emotional competency. Another issue with psychiatric illness is that the clinic may not be capable of managing a major psychiatric emergency. This would mean that patients are at increased risk during their overseas stay for stem cell treatment for Lyme disease.