Media is a hot mess over stem cell cosmetics & sports medicine

The Mainstream Media has cranked up its hyping of stem cell cosmetics and sports medicine just in the last week or so. It’s really disturbing.

The message is unmistakable:

stem cell-based sports medicine and cosmetics are cutting edge new medicines that because they work for the stars will also work for ordinary people too. 

….Or to paraphrase the propaganda “through stem cells you can have a younger face, better skin, bigger boobs, recover faster from your sports injuries and continue your career, make more money, and just overall lead a happier, healthier, younger life.”

If only it were true.

Maybe someday certain aspects of this could be true, but we are not there yet and we need a lot more science to find the way forward.

This is all happening at the same time that new dubious stem cell clinics for sports medicine and cosmetics and other conditions are sprouting up like mushrooms.

Here are some of the prime examples of the media hyping of stem cells to ordinary Americans just in the past week:

Suzanne Somers on CNN touting her miracle stem cell surgery. (For helpful background see these pieces here and here on her case and the dangers of stem cell cosmetics).

Ex-model Debra Kerr Fitzpatrick discussing her stem cell face-lift and stem cell breast augmentation. She also appeared on Good Morning America.

Stem cell whole-body face-lift.

Very poorly written, dangerously misleading article on how stem cells saved Peyton Manning’s career and “can help you too”.

1 Comment


  1. Dr. Knoepfler:
    I do not recall the establishment American media adequately following up on Peyton Manning’s autologous stem cell treatments which were not allowed here in the United States. Those treatments were, however, allowed in Germany. Perhaps you can provide links to other media sites with an analysis on Manning’s autologous stem cell treatment protocol. How about an analysis from Manning himself rather than from non clinicians who, in this instance, cast doubt & fear upon novel protocols that are not consistent or perhaps are in competition with their own research?
    Perhaps Manning’s overseas treatments were successful because this great quarterback is playing well after U.S. Surgeons already failed at rehabilitating him with their decidedly more invasive procedures. Perhaps it is no coincidence that Manning is playing well again because he underwent a protocol that is less invasive than surgery? Yet, I do not see you casting doubt or fear upon these sorts of apparently unsuccessful invasive medical protocols in a method similar to the way in which you are criticizing Manning’s less invasive stem cell treatments. These are your words…

    “As a stem cell scientist who has been following stem cell sports tourism, I found this article really lacking in almost every way. First, the headline is misleading at best. Saved? really? No facts supporting that in any way.
    Second, overall the article reads more like an advertisement for dubious and potentially dangerous stem cell treatments rather than a piece of journalism. Where is the balance? How about the fact that most stem cell scientists do not support these kinds of treatments? “

    Also, I do not see that the article you are referencing is in any way “very poorly written” and “dangerously misleading”. I and others can decide on how dangerous this article is for ourselves. This manner of rhetoric which you engage I believe demonstrates a non-clinician bias on your part perhaps fearful of competing technologies. And many scientists are, after all, non clinicians with a financial ax to grind.
    Also, I find your verbiage about how we “need for a lot more science to find our way forward” relative to stem cell therapies, to be very self serving; particularly after autologous stem cell therapies initially appear to work as fairly benign less invasive procedures for those with orthopedic conditions similar to Peyton Manning’s.) “A lot more science” after all ensures you a long career in research providing you can keep convincing your benefactors about how important you are to them all the while keeping the masses afraid of real workable technologies.

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