Tag: stem cells

Forget stem cell tourism: Stem cell clinics in the US are plentiful

It's generally thought that quack stem cell clinics are primarily a problem overseas because the FDA would. never allow them on US soil. As a new survey shows, that assumption couldn't be more wrong.

/ July 4, 2016

What’s the harm? Stem cell tourism edition

Stem cells have become big business. Offshore clinics claim to use stem cells to treat anything from aging, diabetes, stroke, cancer, and even autism, all without compelling evidence that these treatments have any meaningful effect. Unfortunately, the potential for harm, both financial and to health, is high, as the case of Jim Gass demonstrates.

/ June 27, 2016

Stem Cells and Chiropractic

My local newspaper is a constant source of topics to blog about. It regularly features ads for untested dietary supplements and for chiropractors who offer non-chiropractic treatments and don’t identify themselves as chiropractors. Recently, a full-page ad for NW Pain Relief Centers trumpeted “Stem Cell Technology Takes Joint Treatment to the Next Level.” It said stem cell treatments could heal and regenerate...

/ February 23, 2016

SCAM Cell Therapies

Injecting animal cells into humans for therapeutic reasons has a long history. The most infamous was John Brinkley who injected goat testicles into 16,000 men in the 1920s and 30s to treat impotence. Harriet wrote a review of Charlatan: America’s Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam, which covers the topic. I wonder who would get...

/ November 27, 2015

Is cancer due mostly to “bad luck”?

One of the more difficult conversations to have with a patient as a cancer doctor occurs when a patient, recently informed of her diagnosis of, for example, breast cancer, asks me, “Why did I get this? What caused it?” What almost inevitably follows is an uncomfortable conversation in which explanations of the multiple known causes of breast cancer do not satisfy the...

/ January 5, 2015

Stem cells versus Gordie Howe’s stroke

Note: There is now a major update to this story published here, which explains a lot of the questions remaining in this blog post. Seven years ago I returned to Michigan, where I was born and spent the first quarter century of my life, after an absence of more than 20 years. In the interim, I had done my surgical residency and...

/ December 22, 2014

Platelet-Rich Plasma

I’ve often marveled at the marketing successes of “integrative” medicine – a practice which generally refers to the act of blending effective treatments with ineffective or untested/equivocal ones. Only the marketing elite know how integrative medicine became associated with enlightenment. Perhaps they’re the very same people who came up with the idea that women should be excessively concerned about cellulite? Thanks a...

/ September 17, 2009