Dr. Andy

Reflections on medicine and biology among other things

Monday, March 14, 2005

Heart Stem Cells

Scientists can't replicate a finding that adult blood stem cells can differentiate into heart cells, but that hasn't stopped clinicians from forging ahead with experiments which seem to have a modest benefit, according to this article.

I would be very suspicious of findings that other labs can't replicate. I would be even more suspicious of small improvements seen in poorly controlled trails of a new therapy. A good control group would have to have non-stem cells injected (ideally) or at least a sham injection (just water with no cells) and it doesn't sound like that was done in these trials.

A small improvement like that described here, can sometimes be just from improved supportive care and or all the attention one gets as a trial participant.

Ont the other hand, at least these are real trials. Better than what is going on in Russia where beauty salons are injecting "stem cells."


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