Howe helped by stem-cell procedure, family says

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit – Gordie Howe is feeling significantly better after having stem-cell procedure earlier this month in Mexico.

Howe's family put out a press release through the Detroit Red Wings Friday evening stating Howe had the procedure after being contacted in late November by Dr. Maynard Howe and Dave McGuigan, vice-president of Stemedica Cell Technologies.

"His progress has exceeded our greatest expectations," said the Howe family in the press release, adding the support of fans has been inspirational as well.

Howe's family said he underwent a two-day, non-surgical treatment at Novastem's medical facility on Dec. 8-9.

"The treatment included neural stem cells injected into the spinal canal on Day 1 and mesenchymal stem cells by intravenous infusion on Day 2.," the press release said. "At the end of Day 1 he was walking with minimal effort for the first time since his stroke. By Day 2 he was conversing comfortably with family and staff at the clinic.

"On the third day, he walked to his seat on the plane under his own power. By Day 5 he was walking unaided and taking part in helping out with daily household chores."

Howe's ability to name items has gone from less than 25 percent before the procedure, the press release stated, to 85 percent currently.

"Although his short-term memory, strength, endurance and coordination have plenty of room for improvement, we are hopeful that he will continue to improve in the months to come," the Howe family stated.