Spinocerebellar Ataxia

Spinocerebellar Ataxia

Spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA) is a slowly progressive genetic disorder characterized by slowly poor coordination of hands, speech, and eye movements, though symptoms vary with the individual patient. Often atrophy of the cerebellum takes place. SCA typically results in an unsteady, clumsy motion of the body though sufferers retain full mental capacity.

By the time most people with SCA reach Dr. Steenblock they typically have been wrestling with it as well as other chronic health problems for some time. Many take a number of drugs, some of which actually deplete compounds that are integral to optimal brain function.

With this in mind, Dr. Steenblock approaches his SCA patients with a number of goals in mind:

(1) Determine what is going on in their body including disease processes both pronounced and subtle. To do this he takes and reviews their medical history and prior tests, then does his own exams and testing. Unlike most conventional doctors he looks at players they tend to overlook or dismiss such as heavy metals, GI tract problems such as infections that produce endotoxins that wind up in the patient’s circulation, nighttime (sleeping) oxygen levels, genetic factors, and nutritional, dietary and lifestyle influences including the vitamins, herbs and herbal compounds taken on a regular basis.

In addition, Dr. Steenblock approaches diagnostics with a successful track record in catching missed or faulty diagnoses made my other doctors, something that he has been doing since his days as a pathologist or “medical sleuth”.

(2) Take what is revealed in the patient’s medical history and various exams to formulate a precise, targeted, personalized treatment plan. This includes dealing with excess heavy metals if present, restoring insulin sensitivity (in SCA patients with Type 2 diabetes), substituting gentle natural compounds for harsh drugs when possible, addressing hormone imbalances or deficiencies and infections (including subtle or smoldering ones), plus introduction of specific nutritional, dietary, supplement, and lifestyle measures aimed at encouraging a slowing or even halting of disease progression plus the achievement of the greatest degree of health restoration possible.

As many patients with SCA who come in to see Dr. Steenblock are middle-aged or older, the cache of stem cells in their bone marrow tends to contain lots of senescent (inactive) cells. Senescent stem cells are no longer able to divide and multiple and therefore have become useless in the healing processes of the body. In fact they actually are responsible, in part, for some of the inflammation that occurs in the older person’s body that can aggravate heart and circulatory problems such as COPD. Dr. Steenblock uses injections of the FDA approved stem cell mobilizing drug Neupogen® to purge out these devitalized stem cells which prods the body to make massive numbers of healthy, robust replacements. Dr. Steenblock then harvests this stem cell-rich tissue and gives it back to the patient by intravenous drip, which provides damaged lungs with stem cells that can help affect repair and restoration.

With tweaking along the way this program helps markedly slow or even halt SCA progression and encourage a great many improvements in overall health and neurologic functioning.

Dr. Steenblock’s Comprehensive Approach to SCA

·      Making sure of the diagnosis

·      Testing & other assessments: Making sure the bases are covered

·      Putting it all together: Charting a personalized course to improvement

·      Augmenting nature’s own repair & restoration mechanism: Stem cells

·      How you can put Dr. Steenblock to work on your behalf

Making sure of the diagnosis

When a doctor sees a patient for the first time he will ask for copies of medical records as part of gathering information and data that, in combination with taking a medical history and doing relevant exams and tests, helps him arrive at a diagnosis (or confirm previously made ones) and  formulate a medical care plan. Dr. Steenblock  does all this, yes, but goes beyond this. How so? He ferrets out previously undetected cause(s) and contributors of a person’s problems. This medical sleuthing or Sherlock Holmes mindset is what helps Dr. Steenblock come up with answers in situations where others have failed. Not surprisingly his track record of “discerning what has escaped other docs” has earned him the moniker “Doctor’s doctor” by his patients and a great many of his colleagues.

How did Dr. Steenblock come to be a “medical sleuth”?

Medical sleuths are not born but made. The truly good ones have agile minds, intense curiosity, critical thinking skills and a sound medical and scientific education.  Dr. Steenblock certainly has all this and more. His native abilities are reflected in a lifetime of accomplishments including spinning new ideas and inventions.  His education and training are a matter of public record: A B.S. degree from Iowa State University in zoology, an M.S. in Biochemistry and Doctor of Osteopathy degree from the College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery in Des Moines, Iowa, followed by post-doctoral training that included three years at Case Western Reserve University, one year at the Oregon Health Sciences University and a clinical Rotating Internship at Providence Hospital in Seattle, Washington.  Also — and very integral to doing medical detective work — Dr. Steenblock spent years working in pathology, the science of studying and diagnosing disease.

Estimates vary but it appears around 4% of medical diagnoses are just plain wrong. Dr. Steenblock has run across this many times during his forty-four years of medical practice (40,000+ patients).  Some of these patients had “consensus diagnoses” (a medical diagnosis made by 2 or more doctors) that turned out to be dead wrong.  Needless to say, getting properly diagnosed helped get these folks on the right (as opposed to wrong) road. This is something Dr. Steenblock has in-mind with each and every patient who comes in to see him.

Testing & other assessments: Making sure the bases are covered

As a person’s own bone marrow stem cells play an important role in helping heal up damaged lung tissues in COPD, Dr. Steenblock tests for things that interfere with stem cell mobilization and/or their vitality and activity:

Heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, etc:  With adults, A DMPS* Challenge Test is done in which the patient gets 250 mgs DMPS in 250 milliliters saline by intravenous drip over a two hour period. The patient’s urine is collected for 2-6 hours and sent to Doctor’s Data in Chicago for analysis. Click this link to learn more. This helps determine the presence & levels of toxic and essential elements.

*2,3-dimercapto-1-propanesulfonic acid

Hormone deficiencies as well as excess, e.g., hyperthyroidism, hyperthyroidism, etc: Hormones as well as lack of certain ones can impact stem cells as well as the tissues they engraft in (Hormones can effect tissue changes that can dampen or otherwise impede stem cell activity). Dr. Steenblock prescribes hormone panel tests that measure such hormones as DHEA, IGF-1, HGH, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone and prolactin.

Physical stressors including but not limited to hypoxia (low blood and tissue oxygen levels), intermittent hypoxia, nocturnal hypoxemia (serious drops in tissue oxygen levels), chronic persistent hypoxia secondary to COPD (emphysema), metabolic acidosis (happens in poorly controlled diabetes) or other noxious tissue conditions. To detect & measure the extent of these Dr. Steenblock runs tests that measure CO2 blood levels, LDH isoenzymes, lactic acid, pyruvic acid levels, salivary and urine pH. In addition, Dr. Steenblock has patients do a nocturnal oximetry test, EKG, and pulmonary function studies.

Infections: Dr. Steenblock looks for active infections whether bacterial, viral, or mycoplasma in nature in gums, sinuses, organs or other tissues, plus smoldering or hard-to-detect low grade infections especially those caused by certain herpes viruses and retroviruses. Among the tests that Dr. Steenblock utilizes when indicated: A CT of the lungs & sinuses to rule out sinus infections and a CDSA plus parasite test to rule out intestinal infestations. These sorts of infections tend to attract stem cells including those that would ordinarily wind up supporting the body’s own heart repair process.

Nutritional status & issues: Poor nutrition, ingestion of unhealthy fats and simple sugars, binge or heavy drinking, consumption of carbonated beverages especially sugar-laden ones, overconsumption of caffeine, etc. can complicate the health of SCA sufferers.  In addition, lack of certain nutrients and especially vitamin D deficiency, excess amounts of others such as vitamins K and A can all impede or interfere with stem cells. Generally, Dr. Steenblock does a systematic review of a patient’s diet (This may require the patient keeping a food diary for a period of time. Sometimes specialized testing is done to see if nutritional deficiencies or excesses exist.)

A review of prescription and/or OTC pharmaceuticals and/or illicit drugs: Drug interactions and excessive or wrong drug choices can complicate SCA as well as have an adverse effect on stem cell growth, proliferation or function. Dr. Steenblock reviews each patient’s past & present drug & supplement use (or has the patient do this with their family doctor) to determine what might be contributing to the SPA disease process or its symptoms and/or are inimical to stem cells.

A review of herbs, herb-derived compounds, and vitamins: Many herbs, herbal concentrates-extracts and vitamins can negatively impact SPA as well as influence stem cell growth, proliferation or function.  Patients are asked to provide Dr. Steenblock with a detailed list or record of all the herbs, herbal formulas, teas, vitamins and such they ingest for review.

Assessing the influence of genetics now & down-the-line: Dr. Steenblock makes use of various highly sophisticated tests to help gauge such things as: (1) how a patient is likely to respond to (a) particular medication(s) Dr. Steenblock feels they might benefit from using; and (2) their risk of developing specific chronic diseases in the future. One comprehensive genetics test Dr. Steenblock often has his patients do is 23andme. This kind of testing makes it possible for Dr. Steenblock to personalize many aspects of the care he provides.

In addition to the aforementioned tests Dr. Steenblock makes use of these and deals with any problems that crop up: CBC, ESR, CRP, thyroid panel, uric acid, ammonia (brain cases), EPO if anemia is present, reticulocyte count, iron, TIBC, % saturation, copper, ceruloplasminANA with reflex, and urine organic acids. He has SPA patients who have had a stroke do an antiphospholipid panel and alpha 2 macroglobulin test. If vasculitis is present or suspected he orders a haptoglobin assay. He has all Congestive Heart Failure patients tested for levels of brain-natriuretic peptide, fibrinogen, and d-dimer.

Putting it all together: Charting a personalized course to improvement

Once a patient’s diagnosis is confirmed, modified or even overturned and the results of all tests ordered are in, Dr. Steenblock formulates a treatment plan. The therapeutic regimen he introduces is personalized to help insure the patient gets optimal results and has his greatest shot at making significant clinical improvements.

  • If heavy metals toxicity is an issue a suitable course of chelation therapy is typically prescribed.
  • Hormone problems are dealt with.
  • Infections are treated.
  • Nutritional deficiencies and unique dietary needs are addressed. This typically entails Dr. Steenblock’s prescribing an individualized therapeutic diet and possibly oral or IV nutritional therapies.
  • For patients using prescribed and/or OTC drugs, Dr. Steenblock typically substitutes gentle but effective natural compounds when possible. If drugs are essential, Dr. Steenblock makes sure there are no potential conflicts or interactions between these and any herbs, herbal compounds or vitamins the patient routinely takes (He also looks closely at these herbs, herbal compounds and vitamins to make sure their properties and actions are best suited to maximize patient health and not work to the contrary).

In addition to the aforementioned measures, Dr. Steenblock makes use of a variety of medical devices that address various issues many SPA patients are saddled with:

http://www.stemcellmd.org/periodic-acceleration/ – Periodic Acceleration

http://www.stemcellmd.org/bone-marrow-stem-cells-neupogen/ – Bone marrow & Neupogen®

http://www.stemcellmd.org/treatments/hbot/ – Hyperbaric oxygen

http://www.stemcellmd.org/pulsed-electromagnetic-therapy/ – Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy

http://www.stemcellmd.org/external-counter-pulsation-eecp/ – External counterpulsation

http://www.stemcellmd.org/periodic-acceleration/ – Periodic Acceleration

http://www.stemcellmd.org/hyperthermia/ – Hyperthermia

http://www.stemcellmd.org/intermittent-hxpoxia/ – Intermittent hypoxia

http://www.stemcellmd.org/magnatherm/ – Magnatherm

http://www.stemcellmd.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/PRP-Flyer-Clinic-November-2010-2-pp-spin.pdf – Platelet Rich Plasma therapy


Augmenting nature’s own repair & restoration mechanism: Stem cells

There is accruing evidence that mesenchymal stem cells can benefit SPA such as:

Cytotherapy. 2011 Sep;13(8):913-7. Epub 2011 May 5.


Clinical analysis of the treatment of spinocerebellar ataxia and multiple system atrophy-cerebellar type with umbilical cord mesenchymal stromal cells.


Dongmei H, Jing L, Mei X, Ling Z, Hongmin Y, Zhidong W, Li D, Zikuan G, Hengxiang W.

Source: Department of Hematology, General Hospital of the Air Force, Beijing , China.



Abstract Background aims. The aims of this study were to observe the safety and effectiveness of umbilical cord mesenchymal stromal cells (UC-MSC) in the treatment of spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA) and multiple system atrophy-cerebellar type (MSA-C). Methods. From October 2009 to September 2010, 14 cases of SCA and 10 cases of MSA-C were given UC-MSC by weekly intrathecal injection, at a dose of 1 × 10(6)/kg four times as one course. All the patients received one course of treatment, except three patients who received two courses. The movement ability and quality of daily life were evaluated with the International Cooperative Ataxia Rating Scale (ICARS) and Activity of Daily Living Scale (ADL) and the scores compared with those before cell therapy. A follow-up of 6-15 months was carried out for all of the patients. Results. The results showed that the ICARS and ADL scores were significantly decreased 1 month after treatment (P < 0.01). The symptoms, including unstable walking and standing, slow movement, fine motor disorders of the upper limbs, writing difficulties and dysarthria, were greatly improved except for one patient, who had no response. The observed side-effects included dizziness (four patients), back pain (two cases) and headache (one case), which disappeared within 1-3 days. During the follow-up, 10 cases remained stable for half a year or longer, while 14 cases had regressed to the status prior to the treatment within 1-14 months (an average of 3 months). Conclusions: Intrathecal injection of UC-MSC is safe and can delay the progression of neurologic deficits for spinocerebellar ataxia and MSA-C patients.

PMID: 21545234


Umbilical cord blood as well as a patient’s own bone marrow harbors lots of mesenchymal stem cells. Since 2005 Dr. Steenblock has been harvesting stem cell-rich bone marrow and giving it back to patients with a wide variety of neurological diseases and conditions including many with a genetic basis. Patient accounts and videos can be found on www.strokedoctor.com and www.stemcellmd.org.

The only drawback to using bone marrow stem cells from older SPA sufferers is that the marrow tends to harbor more and more senescent stem cells with age.  Thankfully,  Dr. Steenblock discovered that he could prod patient’s bone marrow to make new, more vital stem cells by giving them injections of the FDA approved stem cell mobilizing drug Neupogen® for five (5) consecutive days. How does this work? The mobilization of vast numbers of mostly senescent (poorly functioning/responsive) stem cells from the marrow triggers natural biological mechanisms that swing into action resulting in the production of replacement stem cells. However, what Dr. Steenblock discovered is that in two weeks time this revved up replacement activity has produced upwards of 10 times more healthy stem cells than were present prior to the Neupogen® injections!

Once a patient’s bone marrow is brimming with robust, healthier stem cells, Dr. Steenblock harvests this and gives it back to patients by intravenous drip.  This turns loose scores more stem cells than would ever be mobilized naturally. As a result arterial tissues that would never have had sufficient number of stem cells around to affect repairs and facilitate creation of new blood vessels are amply supplied with these.

How exactly does Dr. Steenblock do a bone harvesting procedure? Dr. Steenblock’s approach to harvesting bone marrow is designed to be as easy and painless as possible. Typically, bone marrow is removed from a thick bone site as the tibia (big bone) in the lower leg or the crest of the hip bone, a process that normally takes about 30-45 minutes. The first step is administrated of a local anesthetic to the area where the extraction will take place. Then, a thin needle is introduced and employed to harvest around 150-200 milliliters (~5-6 oz) of bone marrow. Most patients do not feel the bone marrow being removed.

What about the safety of bone marrow aspirate treatments like those Dr. Steenblock does? Clinical research findings show it is. Click to read more.

How you can put Dr. Steenblock to work on your behalf

Call Dr. Steenblock’s Clinic toll free at 1-800-300-1063. If you prefer to communicate using a computer you can send Dr. Steenblock a message by clicking this link and using the on-line form provided.


PMID: 21545234