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Biotech Technology

Stem Cells Restore Feeling In Paraplegic 540

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the hooked-on-a-feeling dept.
Vicissidude writes "According to WorldNetDaily scientists in Korea report using umbilical cord blood stem cells to restore feeling and mobility to a spinal-cord injury patient. The research, published in the peer-reviewed journal Cytotherapy, centered on a woman who had been a paraplegic 19 years due to an accident. After an infusion of umbilical cord blood stem cells, stunning results were recorded: 'The patient could move her hips and feel her hip skin on day 15 after transplantation. On day 25 after transplantation her feet responded to stimulation.'"
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Stem Cells Restore Feeling In Paraplegic

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  • by BWJones (18351) * on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:00PM (#13670827) Homepage Journal
    Wow, given this potential, I am surprised this work was not published in one of the bigger journals like Science or Nature? Perhaps it was submitted? I cannot get this particular journal with our institutional subscription, so I cannot examine the article first hand.

    However, giving them the benefit of the doubt, it is too bad the field of stem cell research in the US has been badly damaged by policies the current Whitehouse administration have put into place. A good number of scientific teams formerly here in the US have had to leave the country to continue their work and others are having to modify their protocols to use one of the "acceptable" lines of stem cells the Bush administration in their infinite wisdom have seen fit to approve for scientists that want to continue to receive federal funding for their work.

    It should be noted that it is not just patients who have been paralyzed that can potentially benefit from this work. Other potential therapies to come out of stem cell work include treatments for heart disease, retinal vision loss disorders, Parkinson's disease, Cystic Fibrosis and many others.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:03PM (#13670856)
      If she gets up and walks, I don't think you need a peer reviewed journal to prove that the therapy works!
      • by Rei (128717)
        I'm starting to wonder if this article is a plant. It shows up on Slashdot, from a source that's not exactly a major news source, claiming miraculous results.... and a short while later it gets riddled with Goatse images (warning: Do Not Click On The Article If You're At Work!!!).

        Not that stems cells haven't already accomplished incredible things, mind you. But this whole situation is a bit... odd.

        • by dotcher (761759) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @07:12PM (#13671534)
          The journal article seems to exist:
          A 37-year-old spinal cord-injured female patient, transplanted of multipotent stem cells from human UC blood, with improved sensory perception and mobility, both functionally and morphologically: a case study

          HLA-matched UC blood-derived multipotent stem cells were directly transplanted into the injured spinal cord site of a 37-year-old female patient suffering from spinal cord injury (SPI). In this case, human cord blood (UCB)-derived multipotent stem cells improved sensory perception and movement in the SPI patient's hips and thighs within 41 days of cell transplantation. CT and MRI results also showed regeneration of the spinal cord at the injured site and some of the cauda equina below it. Therefore, it is suggested that UCB multipotent stem cell transplantation could be a good treatment method for SPI patients.
          That's taken from this page [tandf.co.uk].
      • by jaiyen (821972) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @09:17PM (#13672385)
        If she gets up and walks, I don't think you need a peer reviewed journal to prove that the therapy works!

        There is a picture of her doing just that here [stemcellresearch.org] (sorry it's 3MB PDF file, pic is on page 30).
    • by Atzanteol (99067) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:03PM (#13670859) Homepage
      I agree with the sentiment against Bush's policies on stem-cell research. But isn't the type of stem-cell used in this article (umbilical cord) actually "okay" to use under the US policy?
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:07PM (#13670909)
        Yes, it's only embryonic stem cell research outside the approved lines that won't receive federal funding. In individual states, such as California which just approved billions for stem cell research, you can receive state funding regardless of what type of stem cell you use.
      • Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Seoulstriker (748895) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:08PM (#13670920)
        However, giving them the benefit of the doubt, it is too bad the field of stem cell research in the US has been badly damaged by policies the current Whitehouse administration have put into place.

        It's too bad that the OP doesn't understand that umbilical cord blood stem cells are not embryonic stem cells, but rather adult stem cells. But you and he are obviously blinded by politics because you fail to see that the US government is funding this kind of research very heavily.

        (BTW, there are ethics involved in research of all kinds, in engineering, in law, in business, etc. You simply do not agree with the idea that ethics should be a part of stem cell research.)
        • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:20PM (#13671049) Homepage
          (BTW, there are ethics involved in research of all kinds, in engineering, in law, in business, etc. You simply do not agree with the idea that ethics should be a part of stem cell research.)

          I hope you don't get modded down here, because it's a good point. I might respect the position of someone who, after much deliberation, believes that embryonic stem cells should be used. However, anyone who thinks that using embryonic stem cells is a no-brainer either doesn't understand the ethical considerations at stake, or simply doesn't believe in ethical considerations at all. Ethics is tricky business, and neither "the ends justify the means" nor "all's well that ends well" are sufficient ethical justifications.

          And yes, also the research here was done with umbilical cells, and the US government has absolutely no problem funding research using umbilical cells. The federal government simply put restrictions on the funding of gathering fetal cells, which is a long way from outlawing stem-cell research.

          • Re:Well... (Score:3, Interesting)

            ...sufficient ethical justifications.

            Obviously, I'd benefit from an introductory college course in ethics, but this being Slashdot, I'll ask anyway. Is there a good reference online that describes "Ethics" (capital E) in a fairly general manner, such that the basic axioms like "the ends justify the means" are refuted in a logical and consistent manner? Is there a good book I should be reading on Ethics? Self-study is important to me, and I'd hate to re-hash well known arguments in a debate with someone

            • Re:Well... (Score:4, Informative)

              by jallen02 (124384) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:34PM (#13671181) Homepage Journal
              Plato on Ethics [stanford.edu]
            • Re:Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

              by nine-times (778537)
              I'm not very familiar with any online works specifically. "Ethics" of course, has a couple meaning and some nuances. However, the idea that "the ends justifies the means" is generally held to be, almost by definition, in conflict with ethics. This is because "ethics" are the principles which govern actions, and not outcomes.

              If you're really interested (I'll give you the benefit of the doubt despite being modded a troll) I'd tend to recommend Plato or Aristotle. Google for "Nicomachean Ethics" and you'l

          • Re:Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

            by ThatDamnMurphyGuy (109869) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:42PM (#13671264) Homepage
            nyone who thinks that using embryonic stem cells is a no-brainer either doesn't understand the ethical considerations at stake, or simply doesn't believe in ethical considerations at all.


            OK, I'll play, but only because I'm curious. What is the ethical problem with using embryonic stem cells from fertalized eggs that are being thrown away from a fertility clinic? They are other wise going to be thrown away or disposed of, so why not put them to use?

            What I get confused with is how people are against that particular use, yet aren't against the fertility clinic itself, which outside the scope of this argument is throwing away fertalized eggs...aka "murder" to the extremists.

            Now granted, there are plenty of other ways to use embryonic stem cells as well, but weve completely killed on good use but claiming all uses are bad.
            • Re:Well... (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Hentai (165906) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @07:02PM (#13671445) Homepage Journal
              Are you familiar with the concept of "out of sight, out of mind"? Basically, fertility clinics are good because they let barren women conceive (insert happy face and thumbs up). They also require that SEVERAL embryos be created, many of which are destroyed (insert frowny face and shaking finger). This is bad, but in order to acknowledge that it is bad, we'd have to stop letting rich white women have the precious little babies they so desperately want (back to happy face and thumbs up). Therefore, we simply choose to pretend that the frowny-face thing we regrettably mentioned earlier isn't actually happening. Unfortunately, if we start actually deriving uses from said frowny-face, we have to actually own up to the reality of its occurance - which noone wants to do. So we avoid doing a good thing because to do so would involve acknowledging that another good thing we're already doing has a side-effect that many people would call bad.

              It's called "doublethink".
              • Re:Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

                by E-Rock (84950)
                I always thought it was a more theoretical argument.

                Today unused embryos are worthless trash, if legal for research they'd be a very valuable commodity. This might give the incentive to overcollect embryos or start paying women to donate embryos only to turn around and sell them.
            • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

              by FredThompson (183335) <fredthompson@@@mindspring...com> on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @07:04PM (#13671461)
              The ethical question is similar to that of harvesting "unused" organs. At what point does the fertilized egg, which is life, become created solely because it can be sold as research or source material?

              THAT's the issue. Once it becomes legal to create human beings to kill them the society has legalized ghouls.

              That statement also shows the inextricably parallel issue of defining when human life begins. By definition, the choice to end a human life, especially one which has viable potential, is...shall we say...controversial.

              Under legal definitions which were decided by U.S. courts, not the U.S. society, human life starts after the baby's head exits the mother. That's an over-simplification, true.

              Rhetorical point: When does a baby truly become a person? When does a minor truly become an adult?

              Can you see it from the perspective I just described?

              --

              On a related note, given the huge number of people who want to adopt babies and can't find them as well as the people with fertility challenges, it seems to me a better way to "settle" the "issue" is to avoid it by making those fertilized embryos available to other people.

              "No, that embryo will be destroyed (and you can't have it to have a baby of your own.)" is heartbreaking to a lot of people.

              I've not been there myself and really don't know what would be involved. This is just an idea that came to me after watching friends struggle to have children.

              --

              Watch, 5 will get you 10 the bulk of replies to this will be flamefests.
              • Re:Well... (Score:3, Interesting)

                by Idarubicin (579475)
                The ethical question is similar to that of harvesting "unused" organs. At what point does the fertilized egg, which is life, become created solely because it can be sold as research or source material?

                THAT's the issue. Once it becomes legal to create human beings to kill them the society has legalized ghouls.

                Of course, you can do the same thing that is done to prevent trade in human organs: make the sale (and purchase) of sperm, ova, and embryos illegal.

                Embryos can be donated for medical research, or

        • It's too bad that the OP doesn't understand that umbilical cord blood stem cells are not embryonic stem cells, but rather adult stem cells. But you and he are obviously blinded by politics because you fail to see that the US government is funding this kind of research very heavily.

          Wha-? I'm blinded by politics? I'll have you know that I'm typically a Bush supporter, but that doesn't mean I agree with everything he says and does. He's not Christ reborn or anything.

          I have a mind and makemy own deci
          • Sorry, I was reponding to your comment about your disagreement with the whitehouse policies, but also to the OP about federal funding. I think my comment got mixed in a jumble. :-)
          • *for ethical reasons*.

            Are your ethical reasons are so strong that you are incapable of expressing them in mere words, or do you simply believe that people will be more likely to believe you if you don't state your ethical reasons?

            This is just the stupidest thing I've ever been accused of.
            You align yourself politically with the anti-Bushies, you take a position held by those generally incapable of understanding the ethical dilemma, you fail to clarify your ethical position, and other people are stupid for d
        • It's too bad that the OP doesn't understand that umbilical cord blood stem cells are not embryonic stem cells, but rather adult stem cells.

          Hasn't this been discussed enough on slashdot already? Yes, the current administration has not specifically outlawed the production of adult stem cells. No, this does not mean that there is no effect on adult stem cell research. Given the choice, the modern stem cell researcher would prefer not to be encumbered by arbitrary rules about stem cell production, even if t
      • The problem is that when extremists (religious or not) want to control the sheeple, they've discovered that big, complex words are just too hard for their feeble minds.

        Seriously. Google stem-cell research and see how many big names out there on both sides of the issue "conveniently" igore that "embryonic" word. It's just too hard for them to pronounce or spell apparently, and when your throbbing masses can't figure out what you're saying, your message just doesn't have the impact it could have.
    • Umm... you wouldn't even need to read the article to see that it says "umbilical cord blood stem cells." President Bush has no problems with using cord blood stem cells -- no ethical dilemas there at all. In fact this type of thing is already being done right here in the U.S.A. It's already established and is sometimes used instead of bone marrow transplants (depends on how close the match and other factors).

      Facts are cool.
    • Jeez, I gotta get me some of these for my dick...
    • by vertinox (846076)
      Wow, given this potential, I am surprised this work was not published in one of the bigger journals like Science or Nature?

      Mostly because this news is old hat.

      Here is an article and a nice pic of the lady from 2004.

      http://times.hankooki.com/lpage/200411/kt200411261 7575710440.htm [hankooki.com]
  • Wow (Score:3, Funny)

    by kushboy (233801) <brettkushner&hotmail,com> on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:01PM (#13670836)
    I don't know much about this kind of stuff, but that seems pretty amazing. Does anyone with more knowledge know how amazing it is?
  • by Audent (35893) <audent@ilovebiME ... com minus author> on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:04PM (#13670868) Homepage
    Come on, helping people regain sensation in their long-dormant limbs? Where can it lead?

    Oh the humanity!

    Won't someone think of the children!?

    etc.

    ahem. Sorry. pre-emptive sarcasm mode, OFF!
  • by redgopher (650527) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:07PM (#13670899) Homepage
    So then, if the stem cells are placed next to a Shakey's Pizza, they would become another Shakey's Pizza! And you'd have your own Shakey's Pizza where you didn't have to charge yourself to eat!
  • What the article doesn't say is that the staggering results are not due to the infusion of stem-cell material, but rather that her body was taken over by an inter-galactic cockroach bent on turning every country on Earth into a third world country employing strategically positioned WMD's that will all be concurrently detonated at the culmination of a 'World Peace' summit...

    "Hu-rrooh..."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:07PM (#13670907)
    Title:

    A 37-year-old spinal cord-injured female patient, transplanted of multipotent stem cells from human UC blood, with improved sensory perception and mobility, both functionally and morphologically: a case study pp. 368 - 373
                K-S Kang, SW Kim, YH Oh, JW Yu, K-Y Kim, HK Park, C-H Song, H Han
                DOI: 10.1080/14653240500238160

    Abstract:

    HLA-matched UC blood-derived multipotent stem cells were directly transplanted into the injured spinal cord site of a 37-year-old female patient suffering from spinal cord injury (SPI). In this case, human cord blood (UCB)-derived multipotent stem cells improved sensory perception and movement in the SPI patient's hips and thighs within 41 days of cell transplantation. CT and MRI results also showed regeneration of the spinal cord at the injured site and some of the cauda equina below it. Therefore, it is suggested that UCB multipotent stem cell transplantation could be a good treatment method for SPI patients.

    http://journalsonline.tandf.co.uk/(hibl2tibmt1yldq lfhsywa55)/app/home/contribution.asp?referrer=pare nt&backto=issue,8,9;journal,1,40;linkingpublicatio nresults,1:107693,1 [tandf.co.uk]
    • Wow. This girl makes a wonderful testimonial to the power of modern science.

      Congratulations to the research team that pulled this off, and my heartfelt thanks in case I ever (gods forbid) find myself in need of similar treatment.

      We may not end all human suffering in our lifetime, but we're certainly getting there incrementally, in steady steps. Wow.
  • by EdwinBoyd (810701) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:07PM (#13670914)
    Does this mean that these cells were not harvested from an aborted fetus? If so this treatment could really take off without all the ethical and political problems that plague conventional stem cell treatments.
    • This is exactly the type of research that pro-life groups have been advocating as an alternative to embryonic stem cells for years. Remember, there are four types: embryonic, umbilical, adult, and something I don't remember right now. The pro-life arguements against stem cells are all against embryonic only, because of the abortion issue, as you seem to already know.
    • by tfoss (203340) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:41PM (#13671249)
      Does this mean that these cells were not harvested from an aborted fetus?

      Here's the huge misconception about embryonic stem cells: They are not from aborted fetuses.

      Embryonic stem cells from from blastocysts (on the order of 50-100 cells) that are derived from in vitro fertilization attempts where the fertilized eggs are to be discarded. It is one of those issues that has been clouded with talk of abortion (usually by opponents ESC research), and thus reasonable discussion is frequently overwhelmed by hysterical chatter that doesn't even relate to the topic.

      If you are cool with IVF, then there is little reason to be upset about ESC research. If you aren't cool with ESC research, then it seems illogical to be ok with IVF. Abortion really does not enter into the discussion.

      -Ted

  • by ugmoe (776194) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:09PM (#13670938)

    The posted article does not mention that the patient also had a Lumbar laminectomy performed.

    http://www.wesleyjsmith.com/blog/ [wesleyjsmith.com] We have to be cautious. One patient does not a treatment make. Also, the authors note that the lamenectomy the patient received might have offered some benefit. But still, this is a wonderful story that offers tremendous hope for paralyzed patients. Typically, it has been extensively ignored in the American media (although it has gotten some foreign press attention). (Can you imagine the headlines if the cells used had been embryonic?)

    http://www.spineuniverse.com/displayarticle.php/ar ticle545.html [spineuniverse.com] "The goal of a laminectomy is to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerve by widening the spinal canal. This is done by removing or trimming the lamina (roof) of the vertebrae to create more space for the nerves."

  • is what I am. A long standing spinal injury is characterized by severe gliosis, ie the formation of neural scar tissue. This effectively blocks the path for new nerves to grow. This alone makes it hard to believe for me. Furthermore, the rapidity of the recovery is implausible. Nerve cells will grow at a speed of about 1 mm per year. Hence a recovery of lost feeling (thin fibers) within the time span indicated is unlikely. Then there is the issue of homing and differentiation - umbilical cord stem cells wil
    • From the "counting our chickens before they hatch department," mod parent up, please.
    • Finally, the fact that this alleged breakthrough has been published in a very minor journal is quite telling IMHO.

      Absolutely. I can't see the article ,as the Enormous Pharma Company at which I work doesn't have a subscription (which tells you something about the journal), but I would imagine there's a good reason why this isn't in Lancet or JAMA.

    • by jupiter909 (786596) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:56PM (#13671377)
      I'm confused. You say nerver cells grow at 1mm per year. What about when a kid grows up but a few inches in that year. How does that work then, magic?
      • by fbjon (692006) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @07:53PM (#13671877) Homepage Journal
        It works in the same way as how distant galaxies move away from us. The distant galaxies are moving away at faster than light speed, but it's because the space in between is stretching, not because of actual FTL movement of the galaxy.

        In the same way, a kid can grow fast, and the nerves will seem to grow faster suddenly, but actually they are merely stretching out. This is what causes hypertension by the time they reach their early teens.

        As the kid gets older, and eventually middle-aged, the nerves grow and catch up with development. In later years, the nerves will have grown so long that singnals will take longer time to reach their destination, causing longer reaction times. On the other hand, there is the benefit from increased wisdom, coming from the ability to hold longer thoughts in the nerves.

        As the peron is reaching the endpoint of his life, at around 80 years of age on average, the nerves will have grown immensely, making him a treasure trove of deep thought and information. This can be hard to ascertain though, as the sheer nerve-length means they now have to grow in circles in the limited space of the human body. This means that you will often hear the wisdom of the past, as thoughts that started in one end, reach the other. The cramped conditions also predispose for spontaneous reconnections between nerves, causing apparently random changes of subject. Moreover, the spiralling structure of the nerve system entail a circular nature of the information coming out, meaning you'll have to listen to the same story multiple times.

      • by ars (79600) <assd2@dsg m l . c om> on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @08:37PM (#13672160) Homepage
        The GP is a little mixed up. It's 1mm per DAY, not per year.

        See http://www.teleemg.com/new/back_and_leg2.htm [teleemg.com] for one reference. (Second question on the page.)
    • by jcr (53032)
      Nerve cells will grow at a speed of about 1 mm per year.

      Umm.. I'm about 1.82 meters tall, so my longest neurons are probably close to a meter long. I'm no spring chicken anymore, but I'm not 1,000 years old, either.

      FWIW, the last time I had a nasty cut that made me lose sensation in the end of my thumb, my doctor told me that nerves regenerate about a mm per day. Sure enough, sensation returned in about a week.

      -jcr


    • if you insist on touting your opinion with such authority at least where your experience is from. perhaps post a link to a ligit source one simular to the post. scepticism is not plausible source
    • by cbnewman (106449)
      a lot of misinformation here.

      1. peripheral nerves regenerate at the rate of about 1mm per day after an acute injury (assuming no other medical comorbidities that impair healing, inflammation, etc). that's about an inch a month. this article deals with central nervous system repair/regeneration so that information is not applicable.

      2. are you arguing that all umbilical stem cells will ultimately return to the bone marrow regardless of which nerve growth factors they are given and irrespective of their site o
  • by Reality Master 101 (179095) <`RealityMaster101' `at' `gmail.com'> on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:16PM (#13671011) Homepage Journal
    I'm guessing we're talking about a severed spinal column here. How do the stem cells "know" how to get the correct nerves to growth back together? Does each nerve have a unique chemical signature so it knows how to reconnect to its partner?
    • by FluffyWithTeeth (890188) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:23PM (#13671080)
      they just connect random ones, and the brain works it out afterwards.

      They've cut mice in half and done this, and while their back half screws around for a bit, it's really not very long until their motion is completely back to normal.

      • by EvanED (569694)
        Holy cow. Just when you thought you were already amazed at what the brain does, it goes and pulls another trick out of its bag.

        (It amazes me how amazing the brain is at some things but how sucky it is at others, like keeping things in short term memory.)
      • Wait a second. What happens to the part where they're dead after being cut in half? That seems to me to be a severe impingement on the "working it out afterwards" phase.

        0.o
        • Wait a second. What happens to the part where they're dead after being cut in half? That seems to me to be a severe impingement on the "working it out afterwards" phase.

          Er, they cut the spinal cord in half. They don't sever the rest of the mouse....

  • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:16PM (#13671019)
    80% Bush sucks! Grrrr! Rowlf! Hisss! Spit! (modded Insightful)
    10% General antireligious screeds. Woof! Bark! (modded Flamebait)
    9% "Bush only bans funding for embryonic stem cells" Hiss! Grrr! (modded Troll)
    0.9999% Thoughtful comments on stem cells. (modded Offtopic)
    0.0001% This post. (modded into oblivion)
  • South Korea (Score:5, Interesting)

    by shadowmatter (734276) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:21PM (#13671063)
    Californians voted on Proposition 71 and pledged 300 million dollars over 10 years for stem cell research. Apparently, right-leaning political officials are now using bureaucracy to deny the 3 billion dollar pledge, and so not a dime has been issued yet. In this month's Wired magazine (which I don't have in front of me right now), they interview the head of the agency that is supposed to distribute the money; he explicitly said that if the US does not fund stem cell research, South Korea will soon emerge as the world leader. Being that I just read this yesterday, he seems to be very prescient...
  • Cytotherapy? For something like this? Sounds like they couldn't stand up to the peer review of Nature or Science, even if this is not just a completely inaccurate story. It should tell you something when a giant discovery is announced through a lesser-known journal and the only news source you can find on it is WorldNetDaily, a B-"news" site if there ever was one.

    So yet again, what the hell do the Slashdot "editors" actually do other than randomly his "yes" or "no" without any fact checking?
    • This story is only showing up on right-wing pseudo-new sites (like WorldNetDaily) so far. Considering that this is about adult stem cells, it's almost certainly more propaganda than science.

  • by Hogg (680463) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:26PM (#13671110)
    http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapac ific/view/119428/1/.html [channelnewsasia.com]

    I used it in a paper I wrote last year.
  • And here is what the general population will say when they think of all the "China vs. the US" statements they can.

    US has free trade and China won't open up.
    US won't allow stem cell research
    China is growing by leaps and bounds in technology.
    China opresses their people, America is free.

    Then there will be a firestorm of "you're wrong" and "China is going to blow past the US while the US sits and fights wars in Iraq". I do find it interesting however that the US has so many regulations in the medical
  • by Mustang Matt (133426) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:37PM (#13671218)
    I'm not entirely sure what these pictures are of but I know enough to know they aren't what they're supposed to be of.
  • by LithiumX (717017) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @06:50PM (#13671334)
    As expected, everyone's sounding off about stem cell research. So... he's my inflation-depreciated .02.

    Stem cell research is a boon to medical science. Umbilical stem cells, which in no way hurts anyone (and which only a few outsider whacko groups are against), have proved invaluable to health care research. Embryonic stem cells (the ethical problem) are even more invaluable.

    Here is the problem. As an individual, I support the legality of abortion. I don't like the fact that it's necessary at times, and I'd be glad to see it discouraged in any positive way possible. I can respect those who come to the painful realiziation that they simply cannot support a child due to serious personal issues (be it drug abuse, abject poverty, mental illness, etc). And conversely I have absolutely zero respect for those who terminate simply because it wouldn't suit their lifestyle. One is little different from an animal reabsorbing their fetus under stress, and the other is not far from infanticide out of convenience. And while I do not consider an embryo or even a fetus to be a "baby", I don't consider them mere biological byproducts of sex either.

    In a limited, controlled, publicly accountable fashion, I can easily accept open stem cell research. Let's not beat around the bush - whatever the origin, you're destroying a human embryo for medical and research gain. When that embryo is the castoff from fertility work (ie spare embryos that had a chance but will never be complete), it's not so bad. But there's just something questionable about creating a human life simply to dismantle it.

    I don't consider abortion infanticide unless it's late term (ie the fetus could actually survive with a little medical assistance). It's not an independant being yet, and it's by no means an infant until it can at least breathe without a machine (not counting injury/deformity). But in at least a limited way, once a fertilized ovum undergoes it's first cell division (not at fertilization, as it hasn't become a new entity yet), it has become a new human in every sense that a fetus or a toddler is. To say it's anything less is no different from saying that a baby or a retarded person is less human than you are. I'm not even talking about souls or religion - I have grave doubts about both subjects. To me, it's just the most logical conclusion.

    So... while I applaud the wonders we can perform with placental and umbilical stem cells, and would like to see that research continue at full speed, I can more than understand why some people don't like seeing their tax dollars go to embryonic stem cell research. I personally don't care for the idea of creating human organisms, concious or not, simply for the gain of others.


    ... unless they're willing to ship 10% of them to me, refrigerated and boxed, so I can crack em and suck the fresh stem cells down and become a REAL Superman. If it's my own well-being involved, I have no ethics.
    • by beforewisdom (729725) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @09:14PM (#13672374)
      I can more than understand why some people don't like seeing their tax dollars go to embryonic stem cell research. I personally don't care for the idea of creating human organisms, concious or not, simply for the gain of others.
      I can more than understand why some people don't like seeing their tax dollars go to kill people in Iraq. I personally don't care for a war of convenience for the idea of distracting the public from a bad economy or to gain oil resources, simply for the gain of others. ( no offense, I am not saying that you think either way, I am just trying to make an off topic point )
  • Links are fine. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @07:30PM (#13671697)
    I have no problems with the links here. There is no "smiling man".

    Perhaps you have a rootkit installed.
  • by TheNarrator (200498) on Wednesday September 28, 2005 @07:52PM (#13671873)
    Here we have what could be the biggest medical discovery of our lifetimes. Run around, dance in the street, be happy, throw a party, etc. Alright, Maybe a little skepticism of the discovery should be warranted. This is a little too good to be true.

    But No! The whole thing turns into a thread revolving around the technicalities of federal funding of stem cell research. Mainly, why this should be another reason for you to hate George Bush. Which, if you RTFA, this category of research is not affected by the embryonic stem cell funding ban.

    This reminds me of the threads where there's some new energy technology breakthrough and the whole thread is spent trying to find a reason why it has to be bad for the environment. If the thread involves anything remotely related to nuclear energy forget about it.

    It seems that for some topics there is such a huge amount of misinformation about the subject, especially political hot potatos, that the whole thread has to be spent educating people.

    When the thread comes up again, with the same issue, a whole new wave of the uneducated arrives and it starts all over again. This same thing has happed every time stem cells come up, it seems to happen even more on threads where the discovery did not use actual embryonic stem cells.

I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it. - Joe Mullally, computer salesman

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