Another study has shown that when good-willed people donate to crowdfunding campaigns and raise money for medical treatment, money is sometimes left in the pockets of people offering useless or even dangerous therapies Www.mjfriendship.de/de/index.php?op…=view&id=167 A report found that online crowdfunding campaigns in the UK often put money into the pockets of medical quacks, claiming that they can cure otherwise incurable cancer cases. However, according to a new study published in JAMA on Tuesday, the US is not immune to these scams. Crowdfunding sites here also allow people to donate millions of dollars to fund ineffective treatments such as homeopathy for serious illnesses.
The research was conducted by Ford Vox, an ethicist and physician specializing in the Shepherd Center, an Atlanta-based clinic that specializes in spinal cord and brain injuries. Vox and his colleagues have been familiarizing themselves with crowdfunding sites such as GoFundMe in recent years, as many patients are often forced to supplement their expensive medical care with donations. But while Vox appreciates the value of these sites, he also notices patients with brain injuries and their families using crowdfunding for dubious treatments such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT)
HBOT exposes people to 100 percent oxygen at high pressure levels. And while HBOT is used to help people recover faster from the hard-healing skin wounds suffered by diabetics, there is no good evidence that it can significantly help with severe brain injuries.
"We found it really unfortunate to see people getting up for this treatment when there are so many other things the money could have gotten," Vox told Gizmodo. "It just came to my mind, boy, I wonder how much of that happens."
After a short selection of crowdfunding sites, the team decided to look for campaigns in the US and Canada that raised money for five alleged cranks: HBOT for brain injuries, stem cell treatments for spinal cord and brain injuries, homeopathy or naturopathy for Cancer and long-term antibiotic therapy for chronic Lyme disease. Then they searched for campaigns in four major crowdfunding sites: GoFundMe, YouCaring, CrowdRise and FundRazr.
From 2015 to the end of 2017, they found that users had requested over $ 27 million for these treatments. And they ended up receiving $ 6.77 million. Since some of the campaigns were still active at the end of the study period, more money could have settled later. Most of this money ($ 3.46 million) was spent on homeopathic and naturopathic cancer treatment, while another large part ($ 1.2 million) went to people seeking stem cell therapy for brain injury. And almost all the money (98 percent) was raised through GoFundMe.
Homeopathic remedies usually contain no active ingredients at all, as their supposed healing power comes from the strong dilution of a substance in the water, which is a "reminder" of the otherwise toxic effects of the substance. In other words, it is a transfigured placebo. So you are not necessarily dangerous yourself.
But the other therapies can certainly be harmful. Stem cell treatments, especially those performed in dodgy clinics that promise to treat virtually any condition, have caused blindness, paralysis, and death in some users. And while there is still some debate about the nature of chronic Lyme disease, research has generally shown that long-term antibiotic therapy does not seem to help people who claim to have chronic Lyme symptoms and that they are serious, may even have life-threatening symptoms. Side effects
Even without side effects, Vox suggests that homeopathy and other alternative treatments can still harm patients by relying on them instead of conventional medical care. In fact, a study earlier this year found that people who use alternative medicine in their cancer treatment die earlier than people who avoid it.
Apart from the health risk, Vox and his team are particularly affected by the impact of these websites to keep medical scams healthy and alert. He points out that stem cell clinics often recommend crowdfunding as a way for prospective patients to afford their services.
"Quack medicine has always been around, but it is a bit reluctant that people had to spend their money on it," he said. "We're talking about a level of dollars that could change a game for the field."
GoFundMe alone has raised billions in medical crowdfunding since its arrival eight years ago – more than any other type of funding available on the site. And while quackery may only be a fraction of this cake, Vox is just the latest doctor to demand reforms on how these platforms work.
"You have to take some responsibility here and do whatever you can to mitigate that a pity," he said. "When you talk about health care, you're talking about something that is deadly serious."
Some solutions proposed by Vox and others contain algorithms that announce crowdfunding for fishy treatments coupled with human workers who could review these cases] [JAMA]