In a recent, June 2016, report from Stanford University Medicine News Center stem cell therapy injections are shown to be safe and beneficial for chronic stroke patients. People disabled by a stroke demonstrated substantial recovery when modified adult stem cells were injected into their brains. Many who were paralyzed from head to toe, including an arm and a leg on the effected side of their bodies, exclaimed after the successful injections; it was like they “woke up!”

The patients, all of whom had suffered their first and only stroke between six months and three years before receiving the injections, remained conscious under light anesthesia throughout the procedure, which involved drilling a small hole through their skulls. The next day they all went home.

Although more than three-quarters of them suffered from transient headaches afterward, probably due to the surgical procedure and the physical constraints employed to ensure its precision, there were no side effects attributable to the stem cells themselves, and no life-threatening adverse effects linked to the procedure used to administer them, according to a paper, published online June 2 in Stroke, that details the trial’s results.

The promising results set the stage for an expanded trial of the procedure now getting underway. They also call for new thinking regarding the permanence of brain damage.