Editor’s Page: June 2015

This month’s cover story by associate editor Derek Bagley takes us around the world as he explores the controversial and sometimes deadly topic of stem cell tourism in “Tourist Trap.” Due to the media making such a big deal out of what seems to be “miracle cures” for certain diseases as well as a plethora of misinformation online, this phenomenon is only going to grow in popularity. According to statistics in the story, there are anywhere between 700 and 1,000 of these stem cell clinics around the world and when one gets shut down, another one opens up elsewhere. Stem cell tourism has grown from a cottage industry into a new and often nefarious niche travel market.

Kelly Horvath dives into the falsities and misinformation that are swirling around the diagnosis, treatment, and even the causes of pediatric thyroid cancer. In “Fairytales: Dispelling Pediatric Thyroid Cancer Myths,” she talks to experts who say that not only is pediatric thyroid cancer not as rare as once believed, but there are myriad opinions surrounding treatments as well. “In the pediatric population, where almost all thyroid cancers are papillary, a pediatric ENT surgeon is required because it’s not a simple thyroidectomy,” says James D. Sidman, MD, director, ENT and Facial Plastic Surgery, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, in Minneapolis. “Papillary cancer patients need to have a modified radical neck dissection to strip out all of the lymph nodes.”

While it’s true that bariatric surgery can be the solution to a number of problems in obese patients, it is also possible that the effects of the surgery could send the patient to the ER. In “Belly Flops: Complications of Bariatric Surgery,” Glenda Fauntleroy details these emergencies and what clinicians can do to avoid them whenever possible. Number one on that list is to make sure that the proper patients are selected for these procedures in the first place. “You can easily see that there may be patients who are not followed by physicians and who wake up one day and see themselves as being very obese and then see a magazine advertisement for some doctor who does a lot of bariatric surgery and they think it’s a quick fix,” says Jeffrey Mechanick, MD, clinical professor Medicine, Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Bone Disease at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, who adds that these are the patients and the scenario at the highest risk for post-operative complications.

In case any of you are wondering when we plan the topics for 2016, the answer is: Now. So if you have any suggestions for stories you’d like to see in Endocrine News, I encourage you to send them my way at mnewman@endocrine.org.

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