When Parkinson’s Just Isn’t Enough

When Parkinson’s Just Isn’t Enough
By Julia Gorin
Published 11/29/2006 12:07:31 AM

It looks like the recent pro-embryonic-stem-cell spot that Michael J. Fox did for Missouri Senate candidate Claire McCaskill was effective, since McCaskill won the seat. Indeed, this month’s sweeping Democratic victory could spell a victory for embryonic stem cell research as well.

It’s a bit baffling, though. One would think that having Parkinson’s Disease would be enough for a person. But apparently Fox also wants a brain tumor. Recall a study published in the May 1996 edition of the American Academy of Neurology’s journal Neurology, in which a Parkinson’s patient in China was implanted with embryonic and fetal stem cells. The subject’s brain grew bone, skin, and hair — essentially a Siamese twin; he died.

I understand Democrats are for euthanasia, but there’s got to be an easier way. A gun would be quick and less painful, but — sure enough — they’re against those, preferring the torturous, drawn-out route instead. We should have seen the warning signs when instead of just injecting Terri Schiavo with something, they wanted her to starve and thirst for three weeks until her swollen tongue protruded, her skin cracked, lips and nose bled as she heaved, vomited, had seizures, and gasped for air.

Fetal tissue was also once thought to be a promising avenue for treating neurological disorders. But in 2001 the New England Journal of Medicine reported on a U.S. study in which patients implanted with cells from aborted fetuses started to writhe and twist about, jerking their heads and flinging their arms. As one of the researchers in the study described it, they also started to “chew constantly, their fingers [went] up and down, their wrists flex[ed] and distend[ed]….It was tragic, catastrophic. It’s a real nightmare.”

One subject reacted so negatively that he now needed a feeding tube. (And we know where that leads.)

As one of the study’s sponsors, Dr. Gerald Fischbach, put it: The surgery “is not the final solution that people would have hoped.”

There you have it in their own words: They’re working toward a Final Solution with human experimentation.

Remember: Guns don’t kill people. Using dead babies for cures does.

SLATE WRITER MICHAEL KINSLEY, who also suffers from Parkinson’s, likewise has been making a “plea for stem cell research,” as Reader’s Digest called it. But why plead for stem cell research when there are already countless breakthroughs with stem cells — adult stem cells — which consistently have exhibited far less disastrous, more promising results?

But no, Kinsley wants his cells to come specifically from embryos. Not only does the preferred stem cell therapy have to involve embryo destruction, but these folks aren’t happy unless the embryo destruction is government-funded. Although Kinsley and Fox can get their tumors through privately funded embryonic stem cell research (which has investors running for the hills), apparently it’s that magic touch of government money that will make it all come together.

Who knows — if it’s magical enough, maybe it could even cure homosexuality one day (not a choice, right?). So when they finally find and isolate the gay gene, they can look for it in developing embryos, weed those out, and use those for embryonic stem cell therapy.

How’d that be? A stem cell cure for homosexuality! If anyone is still gay after that, it’s obviously a choice (tsk tsk!).

And with the growing popularity of “designer embryos” — screening for 200 diseases, as well as picking the sex and hair color — you can now design the embryos you destroy. Which means you can grow a blond, blue-eyed tumor!

TO BE FAIR, EMBRYONIC stem cell research is still only in its embryonic stages, but so far it’s showing a lot less potential than the embryos it destroys. (Hey, if embryos aren’t people, then embryonic stem cell research isn’t science, right?) Then again, perhaps the Democrats indeed might be our best hope for cures to debilitating diseases and paraplegia. After all, if they’re able to raise the dead to vote again, they can certainly heal the paralyzed to walk again.

Given the euphoria over the Democratic victory in places like Syria, Iran, and France, one can understand Democrats’ obsession with stem cells: they’re going to need as many as they can get to rebuild their spines.

So fear not: with the Democrats in control of Congress, the kids will be experimenting on embryos in lab class before we know it. And Michael J. Fox will never have to make another TV appearance without taking his embryo pills first.

Julia Gorin, who blogs at JuliaGorin.coom and
PoliticanMavens.com, is a conservative comedian and co-creator of The America

More propaganda on stem cells

More propaganda on stem cells

Thomas Lifson
The debate over funding for stem cell research has been marked by deliberate obfuscation and overblown promises. There is a huge difference between embryonic stem cell research and the other two types of stem cell research. Today, the left wing Los Angeles Times publishes an op-ed  by Sigrid Fry-Revere of the Cato Institute which conforms to this pattern of propaganda. While arguing against government funding of stem cell research, the op-ed does nothing to clarify the essential distinction between embryonic stem cell research, the holy grail for cultural leftists anxious to protect the abortion industry, and adult and umbilical stem cell research.

Claims that embryonic stem cells are essential objects of research weaken the argument that embryos are human beings, whose lives deserve protection. The movement to persuade the voting public that they will be denied cures because of unreasonable restrictions on embryonic stem cell research serves as ammunition for abortion absolutists, harnessing perceived self-interest in cures (however unlikely) as a weapon against arguments for the sanctity of the lives of the unborn.
Embryonic stem cell research has yet to produce a usable therapy. For precisely that reason, private funding of embryonic stem cell research is hard to come by. Private researchers want results. The voter initiatives showering taxpayer money on stem cell research have been specifically aimed at fetal stem cells, despite their lack of promise. The abortion agenda has trumped results in directing our taxes toward research.
Fry-Revere takes the absolutist position that all government funding of all stem cell research is bad, a characteristic position of the libertarian Cato Institute. But she also fails to note that abundant private money has been directed toward adult and cord stem cell research because it is getting results. Corporations are not interested in embryonic stem cell research because it has shown so little promise of usable results.
Any fair-minded analysis of the politics of the situation requires examination of this distinction between embryonic stem cell research and the other two types, both of which face no moral objections from any serious critics. So why would Fry-Revere obfuscate rather than clarify in her analysis?
A clue comes in this verbiage:

For years, researchers lobbied government to fund IVF, but amid Luddite cries that “test-tube babies” would lead to societal ruin, funding was denied at every turn. [emphasis added]

As a libertarian organization, Cato opposes restrictions on abortion. Fair enough. But any public policy research organ that obfuscates important factors out of apparent ideological bias weakens its credibility. Sadly, that appears to be the case on the embryonic stem cell question and Cato.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2006/11/more_propaganda_on_stem_cells.html at November 28, 2006 – 04:26:25 PM EST

Marty McFly and Poli-Sci — Research on adult and umbilical cord blood stem cells has already provided beneficial medical treatments, something ESCR has yet to do. However, ESCR is a cause celebre, and as such, even states like California and New Jersey are throwing large sums of tax revenue in that direction. Is that because that research holds great promise of bearing fruit, or because it serves a political purpose to do so, even if such targeted funding decreases resources that might otherwise be engaged in more fruitful pursuits?

Marty McFly and Poli-Sci
October 29th, 2006

That’s Poli-Sci as in ‘politicized science’.

Possible best intentions and sincerity notwithstanding, Michael J. Fox is being used in a crass corruption of science, shrouded in a fleeting compassion by politicians solely for political profit.

There’s a popular and popularized perception of purity surrounding science and its search for ‘truth’. Science is supposed to simply rely on observable fact, and is not swayed by venal and ulterior motives. The political left in particular uses this mythical notion of purity for political ends. When coupled, as in the ESCR (embryonic stem cell research) debate, with an aura of caring and compassion, Democrats and the left assume they have taken the unassailable moral high ground.

‘Follow the money’ is a good rule of thumb for uncovering corruption whether in politics or science.

The pool of ‘qualified’ researchers and facilities, however ‘qualified’ is defined in whatever instance, is always finite. Market forces apply, and the funding needs of researchers and facilities assure that they will migrate to where the funding exists. Likewise, what is committed to research on A is not available for research on B, C or D. If funding for a particular area of research is manipulated by less than noble and even ulterior motives, scientific endeavor will be as prone as any to follow that money.

Research on adult and umbilical cord blood stem cells has already provided beneficial medical treatments, something ESCR has yet to do. However, ESCR is a cause celebre, and as such, even states like California and New Jersey are throwing large sums of tax revenue in that direction. Is that because that research holds great promise of bearing fruit, or because it serves a political purpose to do so, even if such targeted funding decreases resources that might otherwise be engaged in more fruitful pursuits?

It would be naïve to expect a situation where medical research funding would always go in the optimized proportions whereby its results would provide the greatest good. Years ago it was noted that while the number of men who died from prostate cancer was comparable to the number of women who died of breast cancer, funding for breast cancer research was multiples of that for prostate cancer research. There was nothing sinister in that. The women’s movement most certainly led to a focus on what were perceived as women’s issues, including and appropriately breast cancer.

That this resulted in unequal funding regarding an issue of life and death for women as opposed to one for men is neither wrong nor unwarranted. Men didn’t complain, the lot of them after all having a mother, and a likely mix of sisters, wives and daughters. But at base, it was not wrong because the focus on and response to breast cancer was driven by genuine caring, not for political ends. Societies, like families and individuals, set priorities for a variety of reasons that are not ignoble simply because they are not equitable.

However, if imbalances or misdirection occur due to a politically driven desire to exploit for political gain, it is reprehensible.

It is not a secret that the ESCR brouhaha is really about abortion, something easily confirmed by a check of the ‘Who’s Who’ of the protagonists on both sides. For decades the pro-abortion side has struggled for some kind of morally compelling and compassionate support for the taking of pre-born human life. Once they had fired off ‘rape, incest and life of the mother’ their quiver was empty, and even NARAL admitted years ago that those causes account for under 2% of abortions.

The destruction of embryonic life in ESCR however, can be presented as a kind of compassion-driven and Star Trekian scientifically noble sacrifice of the needs of the one (if it is actually a one at all!) for the needs of the many. It sets up a mental picture of those Talibanesque-fundamentalist Republicans wanting to defend the supposedly sacred life of some unrecognizable glob of cells for superstitious reason, whereas the loving folks who want simple scientific truth to prevail merely want us all to have, once again, our beloved Marty McFly winging by on his skateboard.

If that seems a bit overly judgmental, simply recall John Edwards in 2004 speaking of ESCR in terms as that a Kerry-Edwards victory would mean that we would do the things that would make folks such as the then just departed paralytic Chris Reeve walk again.

If down the road, it becomes inescapably clear that ESCR has been an overall bust, in that it provides no significant benefit or no benefit not also attained by adult and umbilical blood stem cell usage, will it matter to the political drivers behind the pro-ESCR crusade that resources that might have benefited thousands or millions were squandered?

It will matter not one whit. It is about politics and political power, and not about truth or love of one’s fellow man.

Too harsh? Some illustrations:

When the Reagan economic boom became impossible to ignore (but not for lack of media trying), its dark underside was revealed in exposing the plight of countless but supposedly vast numbers of homeless persons, many freezing to death, and Reagan and his folks cared not! This critique continued through Bush Sr.’s kindler-gentler Republican administration.

However, anyone who based his world view on the MSM could reasonably have concluded that something like a quasi-‘needs based’-Rapture occurred about noon on January 20, 1993, when Bill Clinton took the oath of office and every homeless man, woman and child in the country seemed to disappear.

Reagan was also charged with not caring about AIDs victims because they were gay. The only reason a ‘cure’ for AIDs had not been found during the Reagan years was that Reaganites did not have the will to find it and therefore did not expend the resources that would surely have found it, in spite of billions spent on AIDs research under Reagan. Bush Sr. increased that spending, but that his administration didn’t find a cure proved again Republicans didn’t really care.

Then shortly into the Clinton administration, it was accepted that a cure just might not be in the cards at all, something many scientists and researchers had been saying for years. Treatment became the focus, not cure, and AIDs, no longer a political cudgel, went on the back burner as a domestic political issue.

There was little to nothing in the way of soul searching that went on in the nineties by those who had fed the political charge for a decade about their enemies not having the will to find that inevitable ‘cure’, and how that might have filled thousands with a false hope or encouraged, even subliminally, dangerous behavior by many who were led to believe, perhaps until the moment they died, that the cure was coming, was just around the corner, would be theirs with little more than a change to the political landscape.

There was the Clinton Health Care initiative. There were, so we were told over and over for months by Democrats and their echo chamber MSM, thirty to forty million Americans without health care. The image projected was of the desperate mother cradling the convulsing infant with the fever of one hundred and four being bum-rushed out of the ER by the hospital orderlies into the cold uncaring street because we didn’t have HillaryCare! Then the initiative failed in Congress and with the public at large. There was no move to a Plan B, because there are millions in crisis and we must help some at least. When it became clear that the power ploy had failed, those supposed forty or so million Americans in imminent and desperate danger of untreated disease and death simply became immaterial and of no political use.

Again and again the real or merely presumed sufferers and victims were and are treated in the same manner as the Kleenex was for the tears their stories brought about: used and discarded.

As this is about corruption of science and not just faux caring, there is the global warming scheme. Funding is made available for studies of the effects of global warming, not for whether it is happening or not. Funding is made available for study of how mankind is causing that warming, not for whether or not man is having a noticeable or significant effect on that warming. Funding is made available for study of the negative impact on the environment of that man-caused global warming, not for whether such warming will be negative here but offset by a positive there, as flora and fauna adjust and adapt, as they have through the ages. As such, and getting what is paid for, a large body of scientific research seems to support the fact of man’s greenhouse gas emissions as the primary cause of the very real and inarguably catastrophic global warming trend.

What if it was actually determined that while a global warming trend is real, man’s greenhouse gas emission contribution to that effect is negligible, and it is overwhelmingly a natural phenomenon related to solar phenomena or some other uncontrollable factor? What would the politicos like Al Gore do?

Having painted, as Gore did in An Inconvenient Truth, the impending warming of the globe as a real and present imminent threat to human life itself, surely that would not cause ‘the cause’ to be abandoned! But that is exactly what would happen, and why even the hint of such denials of human action as the primary cause leads some on the enviro-left to hysterically speak of Nuremberg type trials for global warming deniers.

First, the political leaders of the left actually know better than to try to convince people, and then be responsible for demonstrating, that the same types of folks, politicians and bureaucrats, who have given the world socialist paradises and DMV offices, ended poverty by declaring a war on it that cost trillions and made generations to be educated by the simple device of reducing the meaning of “educated” to something like barely literate, are capable of controlling the climate of the world to something like eternal stability. Second, it is about power and influence, and global warming-responsive regulatory control over peoples, industries and whole economies is just that. Take that away, and the global warming hype will be given the old SNL Rosanne Rosanadana ‘Nevermind!’. Could that be done when we have been told that the catastrophe on the horizon threatens human life itself? Ask the millions without health care.

Put another way, was it merely by chance that when the old Soviet Union and the dreams of central planning statists everywhere collapsed in the late eighties, so much of the far left of Europe and the US simply migrated in lockstep right into the green/environmental movement, with nary a pause? Did the lost love of central planning foster a newfound love of endangered amphibians? Even Gorbachev soon found himself at home in such environs.

Science is a wondrous and beneficial field of endeavor that has been of inestimable benefit to man. Yet science has also been invoked as the basis for much of Leninist and Hitlerian social policy, including eugenics, with scientists on board for that and more, like the infamous Tuskeegee Syphilis Study.

Pilate asked ‘Quid est veritas?’ What is truth? Science doesn’t have the answer.

Science can present us with fact, not truth. It can inform us how to do things, but not whether we should or should not do them. Facts are facts. The New York City telephone directory contains millions of ‘facts’, but lay them all end to end and they will not arrive at a single truth. Truth is more, and of a higher order, than that.

How can it be that science, seen by so many for so long as the incorruptible search for the objectively true, can be corrupted for political purposes? Perhaps another type of study, one that acknowledges that scientists are human and science is conducted by humans, and that man seems to have this universally demonstrated nature that is prone to falling away from the good and true, may have answers for that.

We all of us want to see, truly, beloved Marty McFly back on his skateboard. Yet, to symbolically hold out such an image based on a corruption of what is scientifically sound while claiming a caring and compassion that is false, convenient and fleeting, is to be in service not to what is true, but to untruth. This supposed moral high ground is, in truth, an amoral swamp.

Denis Keohane is an occasional contributor to American Thinker.

The Unconscionable Claims of Michael J. Fox — The only limits in question are on federal funding of new embryonic stem cell lines, requiring the sacrifice of new embryos. Private and state-funded research (California voters are spending six billion dollars borrowing money to fund this) is ongoing. The implicit claim that research based on new embryos is “the most promising” is absurd, completely unsupported by the scientific literature, and an insult to voters, based as it is on the assumption that they are incapable of understanding the issue. Too stupid to tell the difference, is the elitist assumption underlying this campaign.

Fro the American Thinker 

The Unconscionable Claims of Michael J. Fox
October 25th, 2006

The popular and appealing actor Michael J. Fox has taken to the airwaves in Senate battleground states Missouri, Maryland, and New Jersey with a highly misleading ad urging defeat of Republican Senatorial candidates opposing the use of taxpayer dollars to fund new embryonic stem cell line research. He states,

“Stem cell research offers hope to millions of Americans with diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s…. But George Bush and Michael Steele would put limits on the most promising stem cell research.”

Mr. Fox and his ads’ sponsors are guilty of conflating embryonic stem cell research, which the GOP candidates and many Americans oppose for destroying a human life in the name of curing other people’s diseases, with stem cell research in general, which includes adult stem cell research and umbilical cord blood stem cell research.

The only limits in question are on federal funding of new embryonic stem cell lines, requiring the sacrifice of new embryos. Private and state-funded research (California voters are spending six billion dollars borrowing money to fund this) is ongoing. The implicit claim that research based on new embryos is “the most promising” is absurd, completely unsupported by the scientific literature, and an insult to voters, based as it is on the assumption that they are incapable of understanding the issue. Too stupid to tell the difference, is the elitist assumption underlying this campaign.

Flim-flam is a charitable description. Why would federally-funded research be more promising than state- and privately-funded research? And on what possible basis can the claim be made that embryonic stem cell research is more promising than adult stem cell research?

The plain fact is that embryonic stem cell research is proving to be a bust. There are currently 72 therapies showing human benefits using adult stem cells and zero using embryonic stem cells.  Scientifically-minded readers can review this medical journal article on the status of adult stem cell research. Adult stem cell therapies are already being advertised and promoted while no such treatments are even remotely in prospect for embryonic stem cell research.

The fact is that adult stem cells have already produced remarkable cures, whereas embryonic stem cells have failed. This should come as no great surprise to anyone with a background in high school biology. When an embryo is created by the union of the sperm and egg, the cells begin to divide, creating embryonic stem cells from which all future tissues and organs are derived. Within days, the embryonic cells differentiate into three cell layers – ectoderm, mesoderm and endoderm. Cells in these layers continue to differentiate into tissues and organs. As the embryo matures into a fetus, child, and adult, some undifferentiated cells of the three types remain in various tissues such as bone marrow, fat, skin and olfactory tissue.

These adult stem cells are multipotent: they have the ability to turn into a variety of types of tissues. Successful stem cell therapies cause the DNA in the adult stem cells to further differentiate into more specific types of cells. There is no point in getting the adult stem cell to turn into a less differentiated type of cell, or using the more primitive embryonic stem cells. This would be going backward, in the opposite direction of providing a clinically useful therapy. Difficulties abound with proposed embryonic stem cell therapies. The growth of the more primitive embryonic stem cells is more difficult to control and leads to tumor formation. Recent research suggests brain tumors may result. Additionally, the use of embryonic tissue foreign to the patient can potentially lead to problems with immune rejection of tissue, a problem not encountered in using a patient’s own adult stem cells.

America is the most formidable medical research center in the world, but it is far from alone in pursuing the potential of adult stem cells. The worldwide effort is impressive and growing. For non-adult stem cell research, a morally unquestionable alternative source exists: stem cells drawn from umbilical cord blood. Already a bank exists in Dubai collecting cord blood stem cells.

In short, the claims made in the Michael J. Fox political ads are false and reprehensible, an insult to the voters of Maryland, Missouri and New Jersey, and to all Americans.

Mary L. Davenport, MD is an obstetrician and gynecologist, and a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Mary L. Davenport, MD