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Special Communication |

Responsibilities of Health Care Professionals in Counseling and Educating Patients With Incurable Neurological Diseases Regarding “Stem Cell Tourism” Caveat Emptor

Michelle Bowman, MD1; Michael Racke, MD1; John Kissel, MD2,3,4; Jaime Imitola, MD1,5
[+] Author Affiliations
1Multiple Sclerosis Center, Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus
2Department of Neurology, Division of Neuromuscular Medicine, Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus
3Department of Neurology, Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus
4Department of Neuroscience, Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus
5Laboratory for Neural Stem Cells and Functional Neurogenetics, Division of Neuroimmunology and Multiple Sclerosis, Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Columbus
JAMA Neurol. 2015;72(11):1342-1345. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2015.1891.
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“Stem cell tourism” is a rising Internet-based industry that aims to offer unproven procedures to patients with incurable diseases. This unregulated activity is reaching the neurologist’s office as well as across the world, as patients request information or clearance for such procedures. Herein, we posit the need for medical societies and licensing boards to bring this issue to the forefront of neurology because it has the potential to affect patient care with risk of morbidity and mortality, as well as to undermine public confidence in legitimate stem cell research for incurable neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

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