Right Turn: Gordie Howe and stem cell tourism

Author: Stacey Johnson, 04/24/15

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In North America, former Detroit Red Wings player Gordie Howe is fondly referred to as “Mr. Hockey” after career achievements that included holding the NHL record for most games and seasons played, and leading the league in scoring from 1950 to 1954. You can read more about his impressive career and numerous awards here.

It was big news when this 87-year-old Canadian hockey legend suffered a stroke in October 2014. It was even bigger news, two months later, when his family announced that Mr. Howe had travelled to a stem cell clinic in Tijuana, Mexico, and his condition started improving within eight hours. Mr. Howe was treated with neural stem cells injected into his spinal canal and the following day he received an intravenous infusion of mesenchymal stem cells. The cells came from Stemedica in the United States.

CTV’s current affairs and investigative show, W5, recently travelled to Stemedica, in San Diego, and the Santa Clarita clinic, run by Novastem, where Mr. Howe was treated. Canadian researcher Duncan Stewart, scientific director of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and senior scientist of its Regenerative Medicine Program, accompanied the crew. You can watch the segment, in three parts, below.

The fascinating program asks as many questions as it answers. Leigh Turner, on his blog Health in the Global Village, raises some interesting questions of his own regarding the W5 disclosure that members of the Howe family have invested in Stemedica. This apparent conflict of interest casts a shadow on Mr. Howe’s family proclaiming their father’s recovery to be a stem cell miracle. This is a story worth watching.

http://www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=594525

http://www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=594530

http://www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=594535

Our  regular feature, Right Turn, appears every Friday and we invite you to submit your own blog to info(at)ccrm.ca. We encourage you to be creative and use the right (!) side of your brain. We dare you to make us laugh! Right Turn features cartoons, photos, videos and other content to amuse, educate and encourage discussion.

As always, we welcome your feedback in the comment section.

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Stacey Johnson

Stacey Johnson

Stacey has been providing strategic communications counsel to government, corporate, technology and health organizations since completing a MSc in Public Relations in 1997. Prior to that, Stacey was at the CTV Television Network, first as a researcher, then as a story producer for “Goldhawk Fights Back,” a special ombudsman segment that aired weekly on the National News and Canada AM. Before joining CCRM as the Director, Communications and Marketing, Stacey was the Director of Communications for the Canadian Arthritis Network. Stacey is editor of Signals. You can follow Stacey on Twitter @msstaceyerin.
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