Undergraduate Researcher Needed!

Potential undergraduate research opportunity with Professor Levine (course credit available):

Understanding patient experiences with unproven stem cell therapies: Insights from patients’ blogs

In recent years, the number of patients traveling internationally for unproven or experimental stem cell “therapies” has rapidly increased.  Little is known, however, about how patients’ choose to try these sometimes risky medical procedures, their experiences while receiving treatment and their experiences after treatment ends.  The growth in these experimental or unproven treatments poses clear risks for patients.  It may also pose risks for legitimate stem cell research more broadly, particularly if these treatments lead to negative outcomes for some number of patients.  Understanding patients’ decision-making as well as their experiences may help policymakers mitigate these risks.

This project will aim to increase our knowledge of the patients who undergo these unproven stem cell therapies and their experiences through an examination of the growing number of patient blogs chronicling their travel and treatment.  The project will include two main phases. The first phase will focus on identifying and cataloging as many patient blogs as possible.  The second phase will focus carefully reading these blogs and systematically analyzing their content to derive conclusions about patients’ experiences.

Please contact Dr. Aaron Levine by email (aaron.levine@pubpolicy.gatech.edu) if you are interested or would like more information about this opportunity.

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