Neurological expert Matilde Leonardi said treatment for patients in Schumacher’s condition did not exist. The 50-year-old German suffered catastrophic head injuries in a high-speed skiing accident in the French Alps in December 2013 and public announcements on his condition have been few and far between ever since. According to Le Parisien the seven-time Formula One world champion had been was transferred to the Georges Pompidou Hospital in Paris earlier this week for the pioneering treatment under under the care of top cardiovascular surgeon Philippe Menasché.
There is no scientific data that demonstrates the existence and effectiveness of this alleged treatment
But Dr Leonardi, director of the Coma Research Centre of the Besta Neurological Institute in Milan and a member of the Italian Society of Neurology, has questioned the reports of a breakthrough.
She said: “There is no published scientific data that demonstrates the existence and effectiveness of this alleged treatment.
“There is no trace of this protocol nor of a similar experiment on patients in a state of minimum consciousness.
“There is no experimental stem-cell based treatment that has a positive effect for patients in a state of minimal consciousness like Michael Schumacher.
“The news reports are only fuelling false hopes and deluding patients’ families.
“Only yesterday morning I received two phone calls from the relatives of two patients who wanted information to let their children access the same treatment as Schumacher.
“I found myself explaining that we know nothing about the existence of this treatment.
“When similar news is disseminated, there is the risk of deceiving the sick and their loved ones. It is the responsibility of the doctors, but also of the press to prevent this from happening.
“We all hope so, but the truth is that it does not exist, at least for the moment.
“Unfortunately, studies conducted with stem cells for diseases that affect the brain and marrow have not given the hoped for effects.”
Dr Leonardi acknowledged there were rare cases of head injury victims emerging from comas.
She said: “I remember a patient who, after four years spent in a state of minimum consciousness, suddenly responded with a laugh to a joke made by his wife and then started talking to her.”
The motorsport legend’s entourage has issued no comment on the reports and the hospital has made no statement about his presence or health.
But Le Parisien quoted an unnamed nurse at the hospital as saying: “Yes he is in my service and I can assure you that he is conscious.”
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Schumacher was placed in a medically-induced coma for six months after his 2013 accident and now receives round-the-clock care at his home in Switzerland.
His family rarely speak in public about his health but last month his wife Corinna gave a rare update.
She said: “Michael is a fighter and will not give up.”
Schumacher fans are eagerly awaiting for the release of a new documentary later this year, celebrating the life of one of motorsport’s most enduring stars.
It will be the first time family members have given in-depth interviews since the accident.
Schumacher is regarded as the greatest F1 driver of all time having won seven Drivers’ Championships.
However, his tally is coming under threat from Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton, who is on course for his sixth world title this season.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega
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