Public and media interest in the potential applications of stem cells in regenerative neurology has led to growing hope and expectation. This interest is heightened by the current paucity of treatments available for neurodegenerative diseases and their generally poor prognosis. Patient discussions about stem cells are therefore a common occurrence in clinical practice, requiring neurologists to offer clear and accurate information. In the context of a complex and rapidly evolving field, this can be extremely challenging. Here we address issues around stem cell populations relevant to regenerative neurology, including the opportunities they offer for research and their potential application as direct therapies, concluding with a pragmatic assessment of the likely clinical benefits of stem cell research.
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