Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

Apparently, an increasing trend is “stem cell tourism“—but not for Alzheimer’s or a spinal cord injury. No, rather for aging, wrinkles, cellulite, and general “rejuvenation.” This is obviously quackery, as the methods they describe (which range from smearing dead cow cells as a facial, or direct injection of stem cells from an aborted fetus’ liver) have not been substantiated, published, or un-biasedly proven to work.

Unfortunately, stem cell detractors are using this type of off-label, shallow usage of stem cells as an excuse to condemn all of stem cell therapy as morally degenerate and evil.

::Sigh:: With frauds in Korea, cosmetic clinics in the Caribbean, and vetoes at home, does stem cell therapy (legitimate, medically-necessary therapy) ever stand a chance???

UPDATE: Orac at Respectful Insolence debunks this therapy!


  1. #1 John J. McKay
    August 8, 2006

    I prefer my dead cow cells as a dietary suppliment; grilled to medium rare; served with sliced tomatoes, garlic bread, and a nice zifandel.

  2. #2 CK Loo
    August 8, 2006

    At least in Europe and Canada stem cell research still has a chance. Moreover, I’m sure that at some point the US government will eventually have to respond to the general support by the population for stem cell research. At some point an administration will be elected that realizes that the religious right isn’t the biggest group out there.

  3. #3 romunov
    August 9, 2006

    It is perhaps worth to take a look at what Bush actually vetoed.

    `(1) The stem cells were derived from human embryos that have been donated from in vitro fertilization clinics, were created for the purposes of fertility treatment, and were in excess of the clinical need of the individuals seeking such treatment.

    `(2) Prior to the consideration of embryo donation and through consultation with the individuals seeking fertility treatment, it was determined that the embryos would never be implanted in a woman and would otherwise be discarded.

    `(3) The individuals seeking fertility treatment donated the embryos with written informed consent and without receiving any financial or other inducements to make the donation.

  4. #4 Jonathan
    August 9, 2006

    Hi Shelley,

    It seems that from an outsiders perspective (scientifically speaking) China is going to be the place where it’s all happening pretty soon.

    With less religeous bias on the moral front it makes many things a lot easier.

    All the best,


  5. #5 Jeremy @ What Now?
    August 10, 2006

    I didn’t use this to “condemn all of stem cell therapy as morally degenerate and evil.” Stem cell therapy is quite morally degenerate and evil all on its own. Injecting dead babies into yourself to cure wrinkles is just as bad as injecting dead babies into yourself to cure Parkinson’s Disease.

  6. #6 The Beauty Brains
    August 25, 2006

    There is some legitimate work going on with stem cells and cosmetics. We did a post on the subject a while back. It does seem like a waste but if it helps get funding for the whole area, that’s probably a good thing.

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