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Stem Cell Reports. 2019 Jun 11;12(6):1186-1189. doi: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2019.05.009.

How to Peddle Hope: An Analysis of YouTube Patient Testimonials of Unproven Stem Cell Treatments.

Author information

1
EmSTAT, Upstate Medical University, 550 East Genesee Street, Suite 103, Syracuse, NY 13202, USA.
2
Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Richmond, VCU Health, PO BOX 980264, Richmond, VA 23298, USA.
3
School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, 420 Delaware Street SE, # Mmc88, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.
4
Health Law Institute, Faculty of Law, School of Public Health and Health Law Institute, University of Alberta, 461 Law Centre, Edmonton, AB T6G 2H5, Canada.
5
Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Regina, 3rd Floor, 2155 College Avenue, Regina, SK S4S 0A2, Canada.
6
Biomedical Ethics Research Program and Center for Regenerative Medicine, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street, SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA. Electronic address: master.zubin@mayo.edu.

Abstract

Providers capitalize on patient testimonials to market unproven stem cell treatments (SCTs). We evaluated 159 YouTube videos and found patients discussed health improvements (91.2%), praised providers (53.5%), and recommended SCTs (28.9%). In over a third of the videos, providers posed questions to patients, thereby directing narratives and making them a powerful marketing tool.

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