Mumbai doctor in controversy for recommending stem cell therapy for treating autism

A Mumbai neurosurgeon has been accused of prescribing stem cell therapy for treating autism to children with the condition in Sri Lanka. The incident has angered the medical fraternity in Sri Lanka, who say that the treatment has not been approved of by the country’s medical norms.

Dr Alok Sharma, a well-known neurosurgeon from Mumbai's Sion Hospital, has been accused of trying the therapy on children with autism without their consent. There are reports that the Lankan medical fraternity plans to complain to their government health ministry.

As per reports, Dr Sharma had screened patients in a Colombo hotel, after delivering a talk about the subject. A public notice was immediately sent out warning people against the therapy since its results are mostly unproven.

In recent years, the idea of using stem cell therapy for autism has been explored, but the scientific communities in India and Sri Lanka do not allow it.

Dr Sharma continues to maintain that stem cell therapy is an effective therapy for autism. He claims that stem cells help in improving problematic areas of the brain. The stem cells used in the therapy are drawn out of the child’s bone marrow, which Dr Sharma believes is safe for the patient.

However, many experts say that as autism is a result of a genetic defect, the bone marrow of the child will also carry that defect. So it may not help much in treating autism. They also say that it is unethical on Dr Sharma's part to charge money for an experimental treatment.

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