The “Growing” Reality of the Neurological Complications of Global “Stem Cell Tourism”.

“Stem cell tourism” is defined as the unethical practice of offering unproven cellular preparations to patients suffering from various medical conditions. This phenomenon is rising in the field of neurology as patients are requesting information and opportunities for treatment with stem cells for incurable conditions such as multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, despite their clinical research and experimental designation. Here, we review the recent trends in “stem cell tourism” in both the United States and abroad, and discuss the recent reports of neurological complications from these activities. Finally, we frame critical questions for the field of neurology regarding training in the ethical, legal, and societal issues of the global “stem cell tourism,” as well as suggest strategies to alleviate this problem.

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