Tag Archives: medical

Repost: Adult Stem Cells FTW

A colony of embryonic stem cells, from the H9 ...
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This is a repost in light of the recent news that the news media finally picked up on the fact that adult stem cells are cutting the butter and embryonic stem cells are still only a load of hype… er, tripe.

Anyway, here’s what we knew 3 years ago:

In case you didn’t know: adult stem cells have been used for years to successfully treat a wide range of conditions successfully. Private companies have seen the success and have poured large amounts of money into programs exploring the benefits of stem cells derived from adult adipose (fat) tissue, marrow, and other sources.

So what’s all the hubbub over skin cells? And why are embryonic stem cells such a hot topic?

In a chokingly self-important article which seems to further support Dennis Prager‘s assertion that liberals can go their whole lives without meeting a conservative, Time Magazine claims the recent discoveries about the ability of skin-derived stem cells to differentiate (grow into different organs, technically called pluripotency) will not benefit the GOP. Come again? What does good science have to do with politics? And do you even know the history of the issue? I thought not, the MSM conveniently does not read any medical journals unless their tipped off by some juicy tidbit they may use to further their own radical agenda.

The article’s author, Michael Kinsley, says he has Parkinsons, a disease for which stem cells hold great potential in curing. Current Parkinsons treatments using embryonic stem cells turns the patients into shaking, slobbering babes incapable of the most basic self-care. Embryonic stem cells have a more direct and immediate potential for pluripotency as that is what they do: they turn into cells for each organ and tissue in the body. Unfortunately their growth is uncontrollable right now and they end up turning effectively into tumors in the brains of those who are injected with them.

On top of this, the ethical and moral issues involving the harvesting of human embryos are staggering and I fall in with those myriad souls who fight to stop the harvesting and destruction of human life with the goal of bettering human life. How far removed are we from Nazi Germany, when diabolical doctors of death practiced upon innocents by the millions to further the happiness of the rest of humanity? Is that a worthwhile trade?

In fact, to date there has not been a single successful treatment of any condition or disease using stem cells harvested from embryos.

Private sector investment has shunned embryonic stem cell lines, which means the only group which can be coerced into paying for these death-dealers research projects is… us. The government largess is available to any who crow loud and long enough, and it comes from yours and my pocket books and paychecks.

Private sector research has all gone towards adult stem cell research which offers very potent benefits over embryonic stem cells.

  • Adult stem cells suffer no chance of rejection from their host. Adult stem cells are collected from the person they will be used on, meaning the organs grown from them carry the exact biological and genetic “fingerprint” of the rest of the body, there is zero chance of rejection of these treatments.
  • Adult stem cells are given voluntarily as part of treatment. There is no moral or ethical morass involved in the collection of the these cells.
  • Adult stem cells can differentiate under controlled conditions. Unlike embryonic stem cells, which differentiate wildly and which we are currently unable to control, adult stem cells pluripotency can be controlled in application with greater reliability.

So we have an issue where the successful treatment and therefore all the private money has gone in one direction, but a few stubborn souls insist on using disinformation and outright lies to promote a morally reprehensible treatment system which would have been likely looked upon with distaste by most of the Nazi death doctors in hopes of getting us to pay for a treatment process with no current success and little promise.

“If human embryonic stem cell research does not make you at least a little bit uncomfortable, you have not thought about it enough.” ~James A. Thomson

UPDATE:

Hugh Hewitt references Charles Krauthammer’s article on the issue. Bush was right, technology vindicates morality:

Even a scientist who cares not a whit about the morality of embryo destruction will adopt this technique because it is so simple and powerful. The embryonic stem cell debate is over.

Which allows a bit of reflection on the storm that has raged ever since the August 2001 announcement of President Bush’s stem cell policy. The verdict is clear: Rarely has a president — so vilified for a moral stance — been so thoroughly vindicated.

Why? Precisely because he took a moral stance. Precisely because, as Thomson puts it, Bush was made “a little bit uncomfortable” by the implications of embryonic experimentation. Precisely because he therefore decided that some moral line had to be drawn.

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Unfairness

He will get the best care possible.” – Katie Couric about Kennedy’s cancer

I’m not saying Kennedy doesn’t deserve the best care possible; but here’s a question, why does he, more than anyone else, deserve the best care possible? Because he is a well-known senator?

I have a friend who is undergoing tests soon to see if she has a fast-moving terminal form of cancer. This friend is kind, caring, loyal, and very deserving of quality care.

Kennedy will get the best possible care because he will pay for it. Either with the superb insurance plans covering members of government which they vote for themselves, or because of the relatively limitless extent of his financial ability or those who will donate to his medical bills.

Katie Couric uses her “Notebook” session to point out that Kennedy has fought hard for making the same care that is available to him available to every American (legal or not). The problem with this is one perhaps best summed up by Thomas Sowell in his recent series of articles titled “Too “Complex”?” (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3): It’s economics that provide the true and lasting solutions, but economics doesn’t bleed, and politics follows blood.

This friend of mine is bright and sweet, she’s young and incredibly skilled. If anyone deserves a future, she does. She’s articulate and thoughtful, her life is well examined. She’s tenacious and self-reliant, taking high loads of classes at a tough school while working to pay the bills.

She’d be an preeminent poster child for any socialized medicine program.

With the socialized medicine Senator Kennedy has fought for being such a good thing, why have we not gone for it already? After all, it’s been tried elsewhere, it must have been successful, right?

Well, most readers know how successful it has been. Failure.

If socialized medicine, such as that promoted by Senators Kennedy and Clinton, were the reality in America, it would be hell.

As it is, my friend is able to fly to across the country on a few days notice, receive a biopsy, get the results back within a matter of hours, and have a reliable diagnosis presented to her.

It costs money, but with friends paying for her airline ticket, and her doctor asking a colleague for a favor, she can get her procedure done in time to participate in an international internship if the prognosis is good.

If there were socialized medicine here in the US, she would be shunted into a line, put on a waiting list, told to wait her turn.

In a system with little or no incentive either to self-regulate our medical needs or limit considered options to necessary procedures, there would be bloated numbers of people seeking medical help for slight and psychosomatic symptoms.

With the fast-moving nature of the cancer my friend may be suffering from, there is little chance she’d even make it in for an exam, let alone a biopsy, before she died.

May Senator Kennedy enjoy the benefits of a capitalistic medical system, and may his efforts to deny that benefit to the rest of us perish.

**Written by both American Texan and Matthew**

Where Government Has No Business

In the Colorado Springs Gazette, an opinion article points out that, regardless of individual positions on embryonic stem cell research and cloning, we should agree the government should not sponsor ANY scientific research.

The central government of the United States has no business funding radical medical experiments, whether or not the president deems them morally correct. It’s not the government’s duty.

Highly recommend this article. The free, unregulated market provides support to those who deserve, need, or work hard for the support, and denies support to those who do not try or whose ideas have no merit.

Government handouts always create an atmosphere of expectation and dependence. The government is not only poorly equipped for accurate and fair judgment of proposals for grants, it is significantly more prone to scamming and cheating in spreading its copious amounts of money.

Look no further than the times when altruism and human goodness should have most triumphed: natural and national disasters. The cleanup after hurricane Katrina was as much a disaster as the hurricane itself, with longer lasting damage continuing even today.

Take all grants and pork out of the government pot. Deny congress and any government authority the ability to give money to anybody for any reason beyond payment for services rendered. Then take the largess which will be left over from that and return it to the people who’ve paid for the privilege of living in this great nation. With the extra money suddenly available there can be nothing but good as they choose the destination for their additional retained earnings.

Millions of individual moral agents are deciding the destination of their own money is vastly more efficient and entirely superior to one vast immoral one spreading its unearned largess to the noisiest mouths.

Beyond the fiscal and governmental arguments, there are inescapable moral arguments in this issue:

While the attempt to obtain embryonic-like stem cells for the purpose of establishing cell lines without destroying embryos is, in principle, morally laudable, any procedure that places at risk the health and life of a human embryo for purposes that do not directly benefit the embryo is morally unacceptable.
~Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph.D.

Medical Myths

These were no surprise to me, and most of them should be well and truly disproven for most people, but it still surprises me that we have so little understanding of our own bodies and yet claim to have such great knowledge of things outside ourselves.

Some of the myths debunked in this article are:

Daily Fluid Intake

There is no evidence to support the need to drink eight glasses of water a day…

The myths’s origin may have been a recommendation in 1945 which said 2.5 litres was a suitable fluid intake for adults and that most of this comes in prepared food. If the last part of the recommendation is omitted, it could imply the fluid intake should be in addition to normal food, suggested the researchers.

Eating Turkey

…Many experts say that the effect of tryptophan in turkey is probably reduced by the fact it’s eaten with other foods. The more likely explanation is that turkey is often eaten as part of a large solid meal, for instance at Christmas with stuffing, sausages and various other foods, and followed by Christmas pudding and brandy butter. Add to this the probability that wine is often consumed at the same time and it is not surprising that the myth has caught on. Eating a large solid meal like this decreases oxygen to the brain which can lead to drowsiness said the authors.

And a favored bugbear of ludites the world ’round:

Mobile Phones in Hospitals

…[The researchers] found scant evidence to substantiate the myth that mobile phones cause substantial interference with hospital equipment. They tracked down one journal article that listed 100 reports of suspected electromagnetic interference in medical equipment from mobile phones before 1993, which the Wall Street Journal made into front page news, after which hospitals banned the use of mobile phones.

But there is little evidence to support this policy said the researchers. In the UK early studies showed mobile phones interfered with as few as 4 per cent of the equipment and only when within one metre, while less than 0.1 per cent showed serious effects. Rigourous testing at a number of other laboratories and medical centres have also come up with very small percentages and again only when within 1 metre of the equipment.

A more recent study carried out this year found no interference in 300 tests in 75 treatment rooms, and in contrast the authors give an account of a survey of medical staff where use of mobile phones to stay in touch with each other was linked to reductions in risk of medical errors and injury resulting from delays in communication.

Technology has always been and will continue to be a favorite scapegoat and target for fear-mongers. What we don’t understand, we tend to fear.

In many ways, though we consider ourselves to be far beyond those dreary days we know as the Medieval times, the Dark Ages, we are still as profoundly ignorant and fearful as ever.

There really is nothing new under the sun, including mankind’s self-delusions of enlightened grandeur and his reality of befuddled fear.

The good news is that the mortality rate is still 100%. It has never wavered more or less. When we remember there is no promise of tomorrow and that to pin our hopes on that lustrous sunrise is to exercise maddening futility. We ought to appreciate each moment while living in such a way as to be prepared for tomorrow, should it come. Then we can live a life free of fear and deep with rich fulfillment.

Read the original article here.

Abortion Kills Humans

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I wrote this back in August in response to a comment thread on an article on Dawn Patrol blog of Dawn Eden, author of The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On!

L, according to The Alan Guttmacher Institute and Planned Parenthood’s Family Planning Perspectives, both very Pro-abort centers, around 1% of all US abortions are in cases of rape or incest, and around 6% are in cases of medical necessity.

Should the other 93% of children be killed because of “lifestyle” decisions, ie. the child is not convenient or wanted, in order to to protect 6 mothers from the CHANCE that there may be life threatening complications and 1 mother who may not have had a choice?

I recognize this is very personal to you, L, and I respect that. You may not accept my arguments because I’ll never bear children, I’m a man. But you must respect my arguments as we have respected yours because I am a human, and someday I intend to be a father.

The root issue here is, as has been noted before, responsibility. In your case it may not be, but for 93% of women in the sample it is. This does not negate your need, and others have mentioned that it is highly unlikely there will ever be a blanket law making all abortion illegal, especially in cases of medical necessity.

The purpose of sex is procreation, the pleasure is a byproduct, not a direct result. This is why I disagree morally with the homosexual act, but that is a whole different issue and can of worms that ought not be opened here. Once again, the purpose of the sex act is procreation. The more responsibility that is stripped away from the sex act, the more cases there will be of men taking advantage of women and the more cases there will be of single mothers facing the decision. This is demeaning to women, in it’s root, as men do not have to buy the pills or deal with the pain, or face the decision.

Abortion not only destroys life, it destroys good. Do you know for sure if that beautiful child whose very existence threatens your health is not destined to become a great artist or scientist?

Further, we all die sooner or later. There is no promise that we are to live until we are 80 or 90. We have no right to assume we are to live to any age. There is no promise the sun will rise for any of us tomorrow. Today some fatal accident may occur and some life may be snuffed out as quickly as that.

We cannot assume life but we must protect it, and take reasonable measures to prevent it from being taken. It is a sacred charge that I take very seriously that if I am to have children, as I hope to one day, my health, safety, and very life is considered secondary if their’s is in jeopardy. As a grown person who knows that each day lived is another day less that I have left, and comparing that to a child who may very well still have many years of immeasurable potential, their own life is of greater importance than mine. This is not an animalistic or tribal approach. There are only very limited chances, and it is reasonably unforeseeable that I will be called upon to in such a way give up my life for my children, but I am willing if I am faced with such a decision, to do this.

Harkening back to the Titanic disaster, when in that benighted era when abortion was most definitely illegal, and yet the children and those who bore them are considered so very much more important than the men in society. The call went out as the ship sank “Women and children first”. The captain, in an act of supreme cowardice and selfish avarice, pushed his own way onto a lifeboat and was publicly shamed the rest of his natural life for that act.

Children ought not run our lives out of their selfish ambition, but we are be called to subserve our wishes and desires and comfort when we have voluntarily taken upon ourselves the mantle of parenthood. And it is possible we may be called upon to subserve even our safety to them as well.

A very good family friend has been in the same situation as you, she had medically necessary c-sections for most if not all of her children. And her doctors told her much the same thing you’ve intimated you were told. Yet she chose to continue having her children when they came, and her children are intelligent and special every one.

Who would she be to play God and decide that this one or that one did not need to survive only to allow her to have one more day, which might not have even been hers to have?