A tidbit from the AP today about quasi-legal stem cell treatments in Russia (via Wired News), "Stem-Cell Craze Spreads in Russia". Evidently, treatments putatively consisting of adult and/or embryonic stem cells are being used as treatments for everything from cosmetic adjustments to MS. The treatments are totally unregulated and at best skirt the edge of what is legal in Russia. It is unclear where the cells are coming from, or whether those performing the injections have the skills and equipment to isolate stem cells in the first place. No studies are being performed to follow the patients, or to find out if the treatments are causing harm.
This demonstrates the lengths people are willing to go in order to take advantage of new, unproven technologies. It also suggests the extent of body modification we can expect when real treatments are demonstrated using stem cells, particularly those that have been genetically modified or coaxed to differentiate into particular tissue types. Feather goatees will be passe.