Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Stem Cells...

.... ok, I don't know what you all believe, and frankly I don't care. Thanks to Jon Stewart and, to a lesser degree, the public media, I've been learning a lot about the battles being waged between these two sides, and I'm going to take a minute and sum up some of the arguments being made.

Amendment 2 Protects The Buying And Selling Of Human Eggs And Embryos

Michael J Fox For An Unbiased Election

And Here, His Medicine Is Not Top Notch

Gambling With Americans!

Now, I can't find a YouTube for the commercial that they aired last night, along the lines of "Stem Cells could cost American women millions of eggs..." and it has this slow, dark, spooky shot of a woman on a bed, hugging herself and crying. So..... scientists are going to come into your house, and forcibly remove your little eggies? Is that what you think is going on?

"President George W Bush is also against the research, and vetoed a controversial bill which would have lifted a ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research in July.

"It crosses a moral boundary that our decent society needs to respect, so I vetoed it," he said. "

Because war didn't cross a moral boundary.

Our present policy on human stem cells has been shaped by beliefs that are divorced from every reasonable intuition we might form about the possible experience of living systems. - Sam Harris

They're not going to be rummaging around in there and sucking out your little unborn gas station attendants, America... let's define some terms.

Stem Cells - in humans are primal undifferentiated cells that retain the ability to produce an identical copy of themselves when they divide (clone) and differentiate into other cell types. In higher animals this function is the defining property of the deleted cells. Stem cells have the ability to act as a repair system for the body, because they can divide and differentiate, replenishing other cells as long as the host organism is alive. Non-embryonic stem cells can be extracted from bones, from the spine, and from organ donors.

Embryonic Stem Cells - stem cells derived from the inner cell mass of a blastocyst, which is an early stage embryo - approximately 4 to 5 days old in humans - consisting of 50-150 cells. Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent, meaning they are able to differentiate into all derivatives of the three primary germ layers: ectoderm, endoderm and mesoderm. In other words, they can develop into each of the more than 200 cell types of the adult body when given sufficient and necessary stimulation for a specific cell type. When given no stimuli for differentiation, ESCs will continue to divide in vitro and each daughter cell will remain pluripotent.

Long story short, the Embryonic ones are more versatile and powerful, but by no means the only ones available in there.

The Wiki articles for stem cells have been HUGELY purged because they were being used as a battle ground. I remember last year reading that millions of babies would have to be created, and then murdered, in order to get enough embryonic stem cells to make preliminary research worthwhile, and it included god-damn pictures of.... well, I don't want to turn away my readers with a description. A week later, the same page talked about how embryonic stem cells could be extracted safely from babies in a few years, while still in vitro, and the babies would continue to grow and develop normally, and these kids would then have, in storage, a lifetime supply of potent stem-cells available to help them with any medical problems they may encounter.

Now, right now, I'll admit that I don't have enough information to be truly informed about this. I'm not a biologist, I'm not Michael J Fox, and I'm certainly not a Catholic priest. But I do know bullshit scare tactics when I see it.

And now, to lighten the mood a little bit...

And now, some facts you may not know about fish:

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is made of fish.

Fish rhymes with electricity, bundle, and pyjamas.

There are three kinds of fish... trout, salmon, and Lionel the Intelligent Fish who wears a suit and has an apartment.

There is enough fish in the Atlantic to feed everyone in Canada, except for Sean Fergusson of Calgary, who will have to settle for some rice, and a salad.

Fish are notoriously afriad of donuts, hence the expression "The fish is afraid of the donut".

My uncle married a fish.

The song, "Hey, Look At That Fish" is the only song about fish that uses the word "cumberbund".

Abraham Lincoln was allergic to walnuts.

In some cultures, it is considered socially unusual to tie a fish to your head and tweet like a doormouse.

1 comment:

Sorcha Chumomisto said...

no fish for sean! awesome!

i know nothing about stem cells, and i really hope i am neither micheal j fox or a catholic priest. if i am actually a scientist of some sort, what the hell am i doing still working for tim horton's?