He knows autism. He knows stem cells. And he has a very clear statement to offer on those offering stem cell “therapies”:
Dolmetsch says he also tries to answer questions from other parents who write to him for advice. Because there are so few effective treatments for autism, many parents turn to alternative therapies. In many cases, however, those therapies are ineffective, a waste of money or, even worse, dangerous, Dolmetsch says.
Recently, he has gotten a lot of e-mails from parents looking to go abroad for mysterious “stem cell therapies,” he says, including treatments in which practitioners offer treatments made with stem cells derived from fat, at a cost of up to $30,000.
“There are a lot of hucksters,” Dolmetsch says. “They’re springing up everywhere. … In the best case, it’s fraud, because they will put the cells in your body and they will be attacked by the immune system and die. In the worst case, they will cause something terrible, like cancer. … This has to be fraud, because we are not about to put stem cells in anybody’s brain. People are super-desperate. I’m just as desperate as they are.”
I wrote about stem cell charlatans for my day job not long after the X-Cell centre in Germany went under (it was operating on a rather Burzynski-esque business model). My source for that article is the perfect example of the warmth and compassion of those willing to take huge amounts of money from desperate people:
and on clinics in far flung places (and biologic implausibility of these treatments)
Stem Cell “therapy” for autism: a warning – Left Brain/Right Brain | My Autism Site | All About Autism:
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David N. Brown:
Hmm... I recall reading (maybe on this site) about actual attempts to use stem cells to remedy some kind of neural disorder. To my recollection, the gist of it was that, when injected, the stem cells weren't doing what the scientists wanted. This would have been on the level of a clinical trial somewhere, and presumably, such trials are still going on in various parts of the world. So, it would probably be a LITTLE excessive to meet any report of opportunities to receive stem cell therapy with automatic incredulity. One should at least check if the people involved are asking for money, which they WILL NOT do if it is a legitimate clinical trial.
That being said, I must say that for autism in particular, stem cell therapy offers ZERO potential for benefit. In DEGENERATIVE nervous-system disorders, like Alzheimers, stem cell therapy at least make sense in theory. But autism is NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT a matter of gross deterioration or injury in the brain. If anything, it's associated with possible OVERgrowth in the brain tissue, in which case injecting MORE cells in would be the WORST thing to do.
David N. Brown
Please help with my petition for a child with autism.