The site californiahealthline.org has an article about three women going blind as a result of undergoing surgery with stem cells. The women affected were aged between early 70s to late 80s and had hopes of regaining clarity in their eyesight by signing up to a “clinical trial” that offered this miraculous possibility. The result of their bold but hopeful decision was not only unfortunate in having blinded the women, but to add insult to injury it turns out that they also paid 5,000 dollars each. The procedure used stem cells harvested from their own body fat combined with plasma from the patients’ blood. This concoction was then injected into both of their eyes simultaneously. Three days after the procedure, all of the participating women were blind. This stunning, horrific story has a few lessons for us to learn. As you might expect, I will now give you my ten cents on what these lessons are, especially since there is more than one company, Jeunesse Global obviously included, telling us that their stem cell skin creams are here to work wonders.
#1 – First of all, the concept of a clinical trial seems to be widely misunderstood. Just because it has the word “clinical” in it doesn’t mean that this “trial” is regulated or that it is somehow safer than going to a dark alley and paying someone to have them remove your eyes with a hot spoon, despite the promise of clearer eye sight. Hell, you can probably find people doing things like that at no cost! In terms of regulations, a dark alley surgery is going to be just as much of a “clinical trial” as a laboratory with people wearing white coats and smiling big while they ask you to sign a form that pretty much guarantees you will go blind.
#2 – Next, These days you can buy products with stem cells in them as easily as you can pick up pork chops from a supermarket. We’re talking really pricy pork chops, for sure pricy, but if someone came out tomorrow with “research” that said pork chops were the way to eternal youth, you can bet your pretty butt that there will be plenty of people offering pork chop face injections the next day. Does that sound ridiculous? The fact is, my darling, that today’s stem cell beauty products have as much claim to improving your appearance and regaining your youth as, well, as pork chops.
So what about these poor blinded ladies? Their story began with each of them looking for treatment to better their age-related macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is a common progressive eye condition which causes central blurriness in your field of vision. The common understanding about managing macular degeneration is that the disease can be alleviated, or even prevented, by exercising, eating well, and not smoking. While that is a spot of light in a dark subject, there is currently no cure or treatment for regaining vision which has already been lost. Well, there is that one option: for a mere $5,000 you can have someone inject a plasma and stem cell cocktail into your retinas and you’re almost guaranteed to go completely blind in a few days. Yes, I know, it’s dark. Pun intended. Frankly, this is the first time I’ve heard of having to pay for someone to experiment on you. Usually, at least you get paid, or in the worst case you don’t have any choices, like the sick experiments Nazis performed on political prisoners. The whole story is as ridiculous as it is horrifying.
By now I am guessing you are wondering who was responsible for the experiment that led to these women becoming blind? Who sponsored this travesty? To answer your question, it was non-other than a pork chop – no, sorry, I mean a stem cell – company based in Florida. Argghhh!, it’s getting worse with each word I type! The company is called Bioheart Inc. The nest of snakes at Bioheart Inc. had their lawyers cook up contracts that conveniently drew attention away from any mention of “clinical trials”, and the poor old gals signed away their rights on the dotted line. In the end, pork-chop-Bioheart was not liable for any responsibility, whatsoever.
To make things clear, the WHO (World Health Organization) defines a clinical trial as
“any research study that prospectively assigns human participants to one or more health-related interventions to evaluate the effects on health outcomes.”
It is a scientific, ethical and moral responsibility of the company to state very clearly to the patients what the likely outcomes might be, making them fully aware of the risks involved, and sure as hell making sure that patients understand they are a part of an EXPERIMENT. These women were so focused on the hopeful promises of regaining their youthful eyesight that they ended up throwing caution to the wind and losing their vision entirely.
This is an awful story, but that is exactly why I am writing about it. Perhaps this turn of events could have been avoided if there was at least one person among these women’s family and friends who could have asked to go along and read the contracts before they were signed, or at least pushed to inquire a little more about the procedure. As long as stem cells sound and smell like money these kind of cases will keep popping up like bad Thor movie franchises. One Thor movie was more than enough, thank you. It’s a paradox, but people are so concerned for their health, yet we can be so careless about it. If a quick fix seems too good to be true, dig a little deeper because it just might be – too good to be true.
Stay safe, and stay clear of the lies!