My husband Richard and I began this blog in April, 2010 to document our daughter, Emma’s progress or lack of, specifically from stem cell treatments. I have always been a note taker, someone who sought a certain degree of solace in keeping a journal, so writing a blog didn’t seem like such a stretch. We took Emma to the Stem Cell Institute in Central America in March, 2010, August, 2010 and for a last stem cell treatment in November, 2010. This blog was begun as an honest record of what we saw or didn’t see, as well as a way to keep our family and friends informed without sending out annoying mass emails that they may or may not want to have to read, but might feel compelled to do so.
When we began writing this blog, we fully hoped and intended it to be about Emma’s journey from moderate autism into the more verbal world we neuro-typicals call our own. What I didn’t know or expect was for the blog to become what it has – a site where tens of thousands of people have come from all over the world and a place where I would write, not only about Emma’s journey, but our own and on the broader subject of autism in general. This was not the original intention. This was not what I expected.
Emma’s progress did not take on the meteoric rise resulting from her stem cell treatments we had hoped for. When we went to Costa Rica for the first treatment we were told the treatment was in its infancy. We were also told that at least 35% of the children with autism showed little or no progress, while of the 65% who did show some progress, 15% of those then regressed. After we returned home from the first treatment we felt sure we saw some progress and so we returned for a second treatment in August. The third and final treatment was in November, 2010. Each time it seemed we saw some significant progress, but the progress was fleeting and did not continue or if it did, it was so small that we ended up questioning it. In any case, Emma does not have a neurotypical brain and while her QEEG’s have shown some change, seemingly as a direct result of the stem cell treatments, it is difficult for us to see the results manifested in anyway we can pinpoint. In the end, like so many of these things, it is impossible to say whether the stem cell treatments had a positive and lasting impact.
What I have not talked much about is – the negative impact. What are the dangers of doing stem cell treatments on a child? No one knows. We have heard some hypothetical horror stories, but we have also heard stories that are nothing short of miraculous. When we were in Panama for Emma’s last treatment we met a woman who had been wheelchair bound from MS. When we met her she was not only standing and walking, but ecstatically jumping up and down. We listened to her, we saw her. What parent doesn’t want to hear about the miracles? Both Richard and I have tried our best to sift through what we have heard and seen to get to the truth. But in the case of stem cells the “truth” remains frustratingly elusive.
Last night 60 minutes did a report on stem cell treatment fraud. The report is upsetting on many levels, but it must be said that this report is about one particular “doctor” who appears to feel he is an expert in the field because – “My training in stem cells was I studied for about six years going over the literature.”
Scott Pelley then asks, “You’re self-educated, self-taught?”
Dr. Dan Ecklund says yes.
There is absolutely no question that there are people who prey on others. We all know this. It is unfortunate there are amoral and unethical people who are willing to do just about anything to make money.