June 12, 2004

Stem Cells & Alzheimers

John Kerry has come out swinging Reagan's long and unpleasant illness, and the suffering of his family and friends, as a bat to promote harvesting embryos. Telling the world that perhaps the research could have saved him, and that Nancy herself "stood up to help find a breakthrough". And she did. Many people reach for the snake oil that is offered to them in times of crisis.

But the facts in the Embryonic Stem Cell debate should not be ignored - it doesn't work. I said before that even if it offered a cure, I don't see that as a viable arguement in the harvesting of our children. The fact that it offers nothing but false hope and political leverage enforces my position.

I am in awe of Nancy Reagan and her unfailing devotion to her husband as he was taken over by this horrible disease. I am in awe of her strength this week in dealing with his passing and the Nation's desire to participate and share in her grief. She is one of my favorite First Ladies for many, many reasons. But I disagree with her request to President Bush to open up further embryonic stem cell lines to research.

(Hat Tip to T.C.H.O.T.P.)

Posted by Vox at June 12, 2004 04:17 PM | science

you sicken me. reagan brought this country to swift and effective ruin. because he got a disease doesn't change the horrible man he was when he was conscious.

Posted by: ugh at June 12, 2004 04:24 PM


I see one of the inhumane idiots has dropped by your site also. I got a bunch of them on mine. They are part of the rot in our society, not to be taken seriously.

I have solid scientific information from a brain researcher that for illnesses like Alzheimers, you can harvest what are called pluripotent stem cells from the brains of corpses - i.e. organ donors.

By the way, my mother died a horrible death from Lewy Body Disorder, another related senile dementia, and I am probably at risk. It makes Alsheimers look tame (I know, she was in a facility with advanced Alzheimer patients).

These cells work better than fetal stem cells and are actually preferred for brain work.

Don't expect to read this in the main stream press.

If you would like to know my source, send me an email. Politics in science make it risky to reveal sources in this area, remarkably enough.

Posted by: John Moore (Useful Fools) at June 12, 2004 05:40 PM

Well, that comment was COMPLETELY off topic, but obviously you need an education.

First off, this country is not in ruins, nor was it during or following Reagan's administration. Perhaps you have some specific complaint? Probably not, that would require logical argument.

No, getting that horrible disease did not change who he was when he was conscious. And the world knew it, as witnessed by the outpouring of love and respect this week.

He was a great and noble man, who followed his conscience and always strove to do the right thing. This country is better off because he was our President, the world is safer and more free because he had the foresight to stand up to fascist regimes.

You may be one of those people who don't like being told that you have the responsibilty of your own circumstance. But I appreciate that Reagan saw no difference in people regardless of their class, color or nationality. He believed we could all accomplish our goals, we could achieve the American dream, we could make our own world a better place and that that would improve that lot of everyone around us. He did not believe the only way for the American people to survive was to have the government take care of them - that nanny state idea is the insidiousness of communism and dictatorships around the globe.

As we slip closer and closer to that, I am grateful that Ronald Reagan held back the floodgates for a while. I am grateful he was at the helm of this great nation when I was trying to make my way in the world.

Posted by: Vox at June 12, 2004 05:42 PM

Being a Microbiology Major I have to disagree with you V. Stem Cell research is the most promising avenue to eliminating diseases. The way in which the cells are attained is the controversy. In the passed they were taken from aborted fetuses which I can understand is not okay for most people; but more recently they have been trying to use DONATED left over embryos from fertility clinics (hundreds are fertilized, and few used). I see no problem with that, and I wonder V where did you get the idea that "- it doesn't work."

Posted by: Wickld at June 12, 2004 07:12 PM

From the article I referenced. It states that scientists have long known that Alzheimers is unlikely to be benefited from any embryonic stem cell research as it is a whole brain disease. It does seem likely that there may be some benefit in stem cells obtained from corpses - willing organ donors - as referenced in John's comment.

I see no potential cure, even one for Alzheimer's which is clearly unlikely, that would alter my opposition to destroying an innocent life. Even one that is simply seen as a "leftover"

Posted by: Vox at June 12, 2004 07:18 PM

I should say, from the article referenced in the post I referenced. You can get there directly by going here.

Posted by: Vox at June 12, 2004 07:25 PM


So far all existing and promising treatments from stem cells have been derived from adult stem cells.

I find the phrase "left over embryos" incredibly offensive. You are saying you have no problems sacrificing the "extra" children. This sounds a lot like Swift's "Modest Proposal." I ask you to reconsider.

Posted by: bk at June 12, 2004 11:27 PM


I can assure you that my comment on the use of adult pluripotent stem cells for brain work is accurate.

I would suspect there are a few research areas where embryonic stem cells would be required, which is why the federal government allows federally funded research on a specific list or fetal stem cell lines. The problem with totipotent stem cells is their tendency to differentiate into the wrong kind of tissue - for example, cancerous tumors.

I would also point out that there are no prohibitions on embryonic stem cell research if federal funding is not used.

Having said that, I also believe the concept of "left over embryos" is offensive. Each of those embryos has a unique genotype, and the potential to become a unique infant human being.

Posted by: John Moore (Useufl Fools) at June 13, 2004 12:27 AM

"Left over embryos" as offensive a term as it may be: are destroyed. I find that more offensive that them being used to better us. I understand that most people think those embryos are 'life' in which case isnít it much more abhorrent to dispose of them?

Posted by: Wickld at June 13, 2004 11:30 AM

"I find that more offensive that them being used to better us."

Definitely the argument in 'A Modest Proposal'

Children are being aborted every day in this country. I am not going to make the leap to, "we might as well use their deaths for a helpful medical product" I think it is abhorrent that many in this nation find our offspring disposable and/or leftover.

I would love to see those fertilized embryos donated - to couples who need them. Many couples have chosen to do this (donate their remaining embryos), and helped others achieve their dream of a family. Whether they are unable to conceive their own due to medical or financial constraints, those donated embryos are a God send...in a literal sense.

No children, at any stage of development, should be considered 'left over'. Because our country allows the destruction of these children, in the womb or in the test tube, does not make it any less offensive.

Posted by: Vox at June 13, 2004 12:21 PM