Stem cells, fake diseases, polypharmacy, and more…

FSM Friends news & articles

The stem cell hard sell: The Medical Board of California is forming a task force to determine how to regulate physicians offering stem cell therapies: Currently, the Medical Board of California is in the process of deciding how to implement the FSMB’s recommendations. According to Paul Knoepfler, a stem cell scientist, the board is going to be holding meetings beginning in early 2019 to “review the FSMB policy and determine if any changes need to be made in California based upon the policy.” Paul also notes that “stem cell clinics now face a broad range of overseers from the FDA, the FTC, state medical boards, and law enforcement officials (both nationally and locally),” as well as “potentially serious problems for clinics too such as from patient lawsuits.”

I hope he’s right, but if there’s one thing I’ve observed about these unproven stem cell clinics is that they are resilient. The FDA has only so much resources to devote to this one area, and state medical boards are even more constrained in their resources. Moreover, many of the owners and operators of these clinics are wealthy and well-connected. While I’m happy that federal, state, and local authorities are paying more attention to quack stem cell clinics, I’m not as optimistic as Paul is that this increased attention is going to put much of a dent into the business of the likely over 1,000 for-profit quack stem cell clinics that operate in the US alone any time soon. Indeed, I just got a flyer in the mail advertising an informational session for a stem cell clinic scheduled to take place in a venue a mere 3 miles from my house less than two weeks from now. The usual unsupported claims are all there. I’m seriously tempted to sign up, go, and report back on what I find. If more skeptics did that, perhaps there would be more for authorities to work with in trying to shut down these quack clinics.

Naturopathy vs. Science: Fake Diseases: “One of the hallmarks of alternative medicine is the “fake disease”. Fake diseases don’t actually exist – they are invented without any objective evidence showing that they are real. Fake diseases tend to emerge from vague symptoms which can’t be attributed to a specific medical diagnosis… While a group of vague symptoms might lead a medical doctor to run tests to rule out serious illness, alternative medicine providers already know the underlying problem. It’s your Chi. Your energy fields. Your diet. Whatever it is, it’s usually your fault. Adrenal fatigue is a fake disease. So is multiple chemical sensitivity, and Morgellons (delusional parsitosis). “Chronic” Lyme disease is another fake disease. Rather than offer a guide to proper care, a fake disease is a distraction from the truth.”


Beware of natural supplements for sex gain and weight loss: Don’t believe miraculous claims of effectiveness, especially if the only data to back it up comes from testimonials.”

New medicines advice: prescribing cascades, polypharmacy, homeopathy: The new guidelines aim to promote quality use of medicines and include:
• “Do not promote or provide homeopathic products as there is no reliable evidence of efficacy. Where patients choose to access homeopathic treatments, health professionals should discuss the lack of benefit with patients.”
• “Do not recommend complementary medicines or therapies unless there is credible evidence of efficacy and the benefit of use outweighs the risk. Choosing Wisely Australia encourages people to ask questions around any test, treatment or procedure being recommended to them and offers a list of 5 Questions people can ask their doctors or other healthcare providers.”

Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

Five ways to reduce the risk of stillbirth: Smoking during pregnancy is strongly associated with stillbirth and other serious problems such as fetal growth restriction, premature birth, and SIDS. It impacts on the child’s health throughout his or her life. One in ten Australian mothers smoke during pregnancy, and rates are higher for women under 20 years (31%), who live remotely (35%) or are Indigenous (42%). Quitting smoking has massive benefits for women and their babies, but the rate of quitting in pregnancy is low.

Great moments in Health and Science

The invention of IV fluid therapyReplacing much-needed fluids lost through dehydration or blood loss, IV solutions must be isotonic so as to not cause harm to the red blood cells that carry our oxygen.