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Stem cells under microscope dyed blue

In case you haven’t noticed, stem cell clinics are popping up everywhere. There are hundreds across the country, especially in California. The clinics peddle “vegan stem cell facials” or “stem cell vaginal rejuvenations” and claim the miracle cells can treat autism, baldness, dementia, diabetes, arthritis and paralysis all with a quick injection.

If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

There is no good scientific evidence the pricey treatments work, and there is growing evidence that some are dangerous, causing blindnesstumors and paralysis. Medical associations, the federal government and even Consumer Reports have all issued stern warnings to patients about the clinics.

So why do patients keep streaming in for treatments that cost thousands of dollars? Part of the reason, I suspect, is that stem cell research — the serious, scientific kind — has gotten so much hype in recent years. We’ve all heard about how some stem cells have the power to become any type of cell in the body and might one day offer cures for all manner of crippling and degenerative... see more