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Stem Cell Cosmetics!?
Posted: 17 December 2012 08:24 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Six and a half hours of surgery later, he and his colleagues had dug out small chunks of bone from the woman’s eyelid and tissue surrounding her eye, which was scratched but largely intact.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=stem-cell-cosmetics

Yes, somebody extracted stem cells from this woman’s liposuction and injected them into her eyelid. There is more to it than that, but, but, but…

It is better that I am speechless.

Harriet Hall, if you’re listening, well, um, no, you don’t have to say anything about this…

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Posted: 18 December 2012 05:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Unfortunately stem cell therapies have become the newest scam. Like many pseudoscience scams they latch on to a bit of real science and then pervert it for their own purpose. There are claims of stem cell miracles all over the place. You an go to mexico ( and apparently now in the U.S. too) and find some quack who will promise to fix just about anything with stem cells.. or so they claim. In the end you’re usually out ten’s of thousands of dollars and have been given a treatment that is useless and potentially harmful as in the example you have posted.

Its just the latest in a long list of rip offs of legitimate science by quacks and hucksters looking to make a quick buck without doing the research required to develop a truly safe and effective treatment.

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Posted: 22 December 2012 09:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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This kind iof fat-fill has been used for years.  After an accident or being hurt where a dimple or hole under the skin does not heal, it is common for a doctor to take a needle full of fat from the stomach area and inject it under the skin to fill up a dimple or hole.  I had a small cancer removed from my hair line years ago right in the middle of my face. I lived in the desert on the Colorado River where it was not unusual for the temperature to reach 127 degrees.  The hole gathered perspiration and I had to use a hanky to keep it dry.  At a political convention I met a young doctor who gave me his card and said it could fix it.  He shaved my hairline about the size of a quarter and gave me a local before removing some fat from my belly (I had some just waiting to be useful) and after running it through a spinning machine put it in my hair line hole.  3 stitches was all it took and my hairline was smooth again.  I don’t recall any stem cell procedure but I have only a small dent on my face. 

Growing bone is another situation and I would assume the doctor was checked out.  I met my doctor at a Libertarian caucus and I checked him out to see if he was involved in at litagation.  My daughter checks out anyone who approaches me on line or in person.

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Posted: 23 December 2012 11:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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That’s not quite the same thing Sandy. When we inject fat cells from one area of the body to another we are taking mature well differentiated cells. That is very different form using undifferentiated stem cells.

Mature cells have had their future “locked in”. A mature fat cell can not change into a blood cell or bone cell. It will always be a fat cell. Stem cells on the other hand can become almost anything depending on the type of stem cell. That is both the promise and the danger of stem cells and what makes them difficult to work with. Collecting stem cells and injecting them into someone is relatively easy. Learning how to make a stem cell become what you want and not what you dot want is the difficult part.

The hucksters may have figured out how to collect the stem cells ( although sometimes they can’t even do that right) but they have little or no knowledge about how to get those stem cells to do what they want and in many cases they don’t care. As long as they can sell people on the promise of stem cells and collect their fee, that is all they care about.

In most cases the worst that happens is that the stem cells die and the patient is out $10-20,000 dollars. In a worst case scenario the stem cells turn into something you don’t want. In the case reported in this story some of the stem cells apparently developed into osteopblasts and created bone but they can become lots of other things you don’t want like hair follicles or even cancer cells. That’s why its incredibly irresponsible and even criminal for anyone to be playing with stem cells without doing the research required to do this safely first.

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Posted: 23 December 2012 02:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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What do you want from differentiated or whatever?  Should it be against the law for some reason?  There are a lot of wonderful things that correct an accident or some such problem.  People who do have surgery like that usually have plenty of money to pay for it.  Many doctors do some pretty good surgeries having to do with bone growth.  Many of our soldiers are coming home with parts of their jaws missing.  They stitch them up and then hand them over to many great hospitals to make them acceptable again. 

There are many Americans who resent this kind of plastic surgery and do not think we should pay for the cost.  It may have beem Limbaugh who went on a rampage about the cost of the surgeries.  I support “Wounded Warriors” in Texas.  I wish I could do more.

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Posted: 23 December 2012 04:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Sandy perhaps I didnt explain things clearly enough. Let me see if I can do better.

In this particular case a plastic surgeon performed a procedure in which stem cells were injected into the patients face with the hope that it would rejuvenate her skin. Stem cells are not fat cells or nerve cells. They are more primitive cells that have the capacity to become a number of different types of cells. These surgeons then injected a material (hydroxylapatite) that is often used as a filler in plastic surgery. Unfortunately that material caused the stem cells to turn into bone cells which led to the production of bone in her eye lid. The thing is, they should have known this. Among people who have a good understanding of stem cell biology it is well known that putting stem cells in contact with hydroxylapatite will cause them to turn into bone cells. What we have here though is doctors using a technology that is very new and which they did not fully understand.

On an aside, what i meant when i said these cells were undifferentiated is that they can become almost anything. You can think of the term “differentiated” this way. When a child is born there are endless possibilities before them. They can become a fireman, a housewife, a writer, a murderer, or president. Some stem cells are like that. They can become almost anything. We would call that child or that stem cell undifferentiated ( also called pluripotent). As time goes by things change. Some children develop a talent for science or math. Others may have a knack for the written word. At this point their career path is not defined yet but the possibilities have become more focused. Some will be more likely now to become doctors or scientists while others are more likely to become lawyers or writers. These people are like stem cells that partially differentiated and have a more limited potential. They may become skin or cartilage or bone but can not turn into nerve cells or blood cells. Eventually cells become fully differentiated at which point they are pretty much stuck being what they are. Just as a lawyer is unlikely to become a doctor once they have reached that point in their education a fat cell is unlikely to become a bone cell once it is fully differentiated.

The cells that were injected into this woman were mesenchymal stem cells, which means they were somewhat limited and could only become things like bone, cartilage or fat.

I can not tell you whether there is good evidence verifying the effectiveness or safety of this procedure but it illustrates what happens when health care professionals push the envelop before they should or use technology they dont fully understand. Plastic surgery is far more of a commercial enterprise than most other medical fields and some plastic surgeons have been using unproven treatments in order to appear that they are on the cutting edge so they can attract people who are willing to dig into their pockets to pay for these expensive procedures. It appears that is what happened here.

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Posted: 23 December 2012 05:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Are these not the same cells that are injected into parts of bones to stimulate their growth within the body?  I read a report from the hospital in Texas who had done some of this.  I followed a link found on “Imus in the Morning” that used to be on MSNBC from 3 am to 6 am.  I used to listen/watch this program because Don Imus did the best book reviews of anyone.  I have little background in medical research so I probably got it all wrong.  I had a cousin who had a car hit a large tree in Spokane Washington and brought it down on top of her.  She lost part of her face and one leg is several inches shorter.  The poor little girl had a terrible life with all the surgeries needed and became a nun.  When ever some new information was discovered we all notified her mother about it but she gave up trying to improve her face or her leg.  She ended up with little life left to her.  Many of us tried to keep up with new ideas to help her.  I do remember a treatment using stem cells to try and stimulate the growth of bones in her leg.  I do know they had a lot doctors working on her injuries.

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Posted: 24 December 2012 04:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Sandy, stem cells do not always differentiate correctly when the organism is not growing (as in embryo to child to adult) and the cells are not in the right place. There are a large variety of chemical cues that stem cells of various kinds (and the ones injected were, as somebody pointed out, not entirely pluripotent) use to determine what to turn into, and how fast to divide.

In the lack of direction, many things can happen. It can happen, usually, that even autograft stem cells (i.e. those from the same person) will simply die, or trigger an immune reaction and be killed by the body for being in the wrong place. It can happen that something causes them to differentiate into the wrong, but non-cancerous thing as happened here with the apatite. They can also become a tumor, either local or malignant, or even potentially trigger autoimmune graft-versus-host disease. The last happens quickly, and has been known to cause death. Basically, you can become allergic to your own body. This is “a bad thing”.

The kind of work done on the person was very, very questionable, in short, and the outcome, while unpleasant, could have been a whole lot worse.

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Posted: 24 December 2012 05:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I am extremely impressed with your knowledge of the subject we are discussing.  I have no background in medicine and even less in science.  I will never be able to follow the procedures described here and I can only apologize for my ignorance.  I should have known better than to even suggest that your words were done only to show the cost of such a procedure.  My world is limited and any use of stem cells would have been done to improve the appearance of someone on the stage or screen.  Even in the world of performing arts, the hands operating a musicial instrument might require a medical procedure at any cost.  That is my world, and yours is medical surgery. 

It takes all kinds of people to keep us healthy and entertained.  I’m sorry. 

I’m Hospice with the ultimate respect for all medical procedures.  I cannot heal anyone but I can make their last hours more confortable.  Truce?

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Posted: 24 December 2012 07:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I have no problem with people altering their appearance, etc, or with repair.

What I object to is seeing people hurt by having silly things done to them. FYI, while I know quite a bit about the subject I am NOT a doctor and I would not even consider treating anyone. I do subjective testing (mostly of audio, but also video), and sometimes there is an unpleasant dilemma when you see certain kinds of sensory patterns. :(

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Posted: 25 December 2012 07:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I guess the discussion would entail describing what you mean by “silly things.”  I hope this does not look like an opening for an argument because it is not meant to be.

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Posted: 25 December 2012 01:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Cosmetics are fine, but con men use the popularity of stem cells as a new area of medical research and claim all sorts of things for them just to make money.  It would be just as effective if you rubbed a raw pork chop on your face daily.  Fat injections to fill voids makes sense, but stem cell injections???  No way.  The con job they are trying to sell is that stem cells can rejuvenate the skin cells.  Scientists are looking at them to repair heart muscle and some other cells, but if they worked the way the con men say, we’d be seeing wholesale injections, not for skin, but for giving us longer lives.  Maybe someday, but not even close yet. 

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Posted: 25 December 2012 04:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I think we are seeing some fascinating improvements using stem cells in repairing many human body parts.  The University of Wyoming has two campuses that are showing signs of regrowth of some body parts.  I don’t know if this is related but my husband had a medical doctor friend of his from Caltech who was experimenting on plant growth of entire parts of the plant that led into injections of the source of missing arms of a human.  This was done at UCLA Medical center.  I would have thought that CFI might have an interest in this kind of experimentation.  During WW2 at the Wadsworth Army Hospital the discussions about missing body parts and how to stimulate the regrowth was being discussed all over the hospital. 

I’m always interested in this kind of medical research and many times the research begins with cosmetic surgery which I guess would be considered “silly stuff” here.  I have watched Joan River’s face change almost yearly with her injections and lifts.  She represents many wealthy men and women whose income depends on their appearance.  She is very open and honest with the procedures done on her as was Elizabeth Taylor who financed a lot of the costs of men in battle and firemen.  Several of these men had their faces rebuilt from studying what they did to both Joan and Elizabeth. 

In Vitro that has been so successful with couples who have trouble getting pregnant can and is being over done.  Couples who have wealth to be used on this problem allows the procedures to go beyond experimentation but then we have the problem of a single mother without a job or home who had 8 fertile eggs implanted and several have physical problems.  This family will need government income all their lives.  I dislike the idea of government laws against this, but we could outbreed ourselves into poverty and starvation. 

I still consider the concept of choice overshadows anything else.  I have been very unhappy with the lack of promoting choice when it comes to American values.  We still have many Americans who would prefer the government making rules for our individual choices.  The Republican Primaries brought out the demand for federal laws prohibiting gay marriages, abortions and many other choices.  It removed me from being a Republican back when the platform took on the rules of the inquisitions.  I became a Democrat and then saw the Democrats throw in the towel on these choices.

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Posted: 25 December 2012 05:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Sandy Price - 25 December 2012 07:26 AM

I guess the discussion would entail describing what you mean by “silly things.”  I hope this does not look like an opening for an argument because it is not meant to be.

Sorry, “silly” in this context meant “medically silly” as in “we don’t know what this will do so let’s experiment on a human subject” kind of silly.

Cosmetic surgery is not my concern. Cosmetic surgery done by somebody who doesn’t understand what they are doing, on the other hand, is at least silly, if not worse.

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Posted: 27 December 2012 06:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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jj, I spent this morning in my doctor’s office discussing with him the subject of loosening the arthritis junk from the joints of several of his patients in his waiting room.  I am one of those patients and on cold morning, my fingers are so swollen that I cannot hold mug of coffee without first running hot water over my hands.  I designed and made costumes for a Shakespearean theater for years and this morning I cannot thread a needle.  My doctor is looking into a clinic in Oceanside California where there might be some injections possible to keep the finger joints loose.  Arthris in my knees and hips has caused replacements to be necessary for me to walk.  After each replacement the surgeons put the leg and/or hip in a compression stocking/girdle.  The pain to remove and replace these compression garmets is impossible to do this alone.  The Arthritis Foundation has discovered that putting the body in 4 feet of water adds the proper amount of compression.  It allows a person to slip into a pool and walk sometimes holding on to a belly board or a couple of noodles.  Most elderly people would rather stay safely in a wheel chair.  Not me!  I keep my home clean and neat, fix my own meals and tend to a couple of spoiled cats. 

My doctor has promised to contact this clinic and check out how to help his own patients. 

My boss at Capitol Hill Blue has finally been allowed to leave ICU after hitting a cow.  He is younger than me but old enough to feel the results of arthritis.  This is what I do.  I was a writer for his home page until they discovered my Atheism.  Turned out that many members of his site are members of A.A. and faith is a big part of healing.  Religion is a choice and I was asked to leave.  I play at his forum but he is the boss man and he sets the laws.  There is no anger and I discovered his accident and was able to report on his condition.  That is what I do.

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Posted: 31 December 2012 01:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Sandy Price - 25 December 2012 04:05 PM

In Vitro that has been so successful with couples who have trouble getting pregnant can and is being over done.  Couples who have wealth to be used on this problem allows the procedures to go beyond experimentation but then we have the problem of a single mother without a job or home who had 8 fertile eggs implanted and several have physical problems.  This family will need government income all their lives.  I dislike the idea of government laws against this, but we could outbreed ourselves into poverty and starvation. 

Sandy, the mother with the eight babies+ paid for all of the IVF herself. She’d had a settlement from an injury. It sounds like her parents were world class enablers, because while she was paying for all of the IVF, her parents were paying all the bills for the first 6 children to the point where they went bankrupt. She found an unscrupulous, unethical doctor to do those implantations. He has since lost his license to practice, at least in CA. Her case is unlike any other I have ever seen before. Not to be an armchair psychiatrist, but I can’t believe there is not something mentally wrong with that woman, and I pity her poor children. I can’t believe that at some point the state will not have to step in and take some of the children. At this point, she has suckered her parents into her web to help, but the poor children are innocent participants.

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