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Thursday, May 17, 2007

STEM CELL RESEARCH

THE TRUTH OF STEM CELL RESEARCH

I mentioned it here earlier in a previous Blog that when an issue gets within the political realm you might as well forget about logic, reason, common sense, and truth. This is so true in the areas of Stem Cell research and of Global Warming. I spoke earlier on how the issue of Global Warming has entered the political arena with the efforts of Al Gore whose privately owned company is making a fortune from the scam of selling carbon credits. The way the public is being fooled is an indication of how the stupid and/or uneducated masses can be swayed by a few vocal influential charlatans.

The public is constantly being bombarded by mis information, especially on TV where visual images become powerful forces in programming the mind/brain to believe what is being shown. I discuss this factor in two previous books, namely, How to Benefit from Stress, and Awaken the Genius in Your Child.

This, what I call Programming Effect, reminds me of watching in any one of the Moslem countries crowds of people who are loudly chanting the phrases of one individual with a bull horn. We frequently now see such occurrences also in the US. One only needs to attend a Rock concert and observe thousands of fans acting with similar frenzy as the Rock star leads them into a screaming oblivion. The psychology of such behavior is similar.

Today, I would like to direct my comments of the issue of Stem Cell research. If I were to ask how many diseases have been cured by Stem Cells, would you be surprised to know that there has been only one, and this medical condition has been cured this way long before anyone was thinking about stem cells?

Many years ago we discovered that we could perform bone marrow transplants in individuals whose own bone marrow has been destroyed by diseases such as aplastic anemia or by chemotherapy. The bone marrow of healthy individuals contain very primitive bone marrow stem cells. These stem cells multiply and differentiate into more adult marrow cells which eventually become adult red blood cells. In fact, in the normal marrow there is this process of development and differentiation of cells from the early stem cell forms to the adult cell. And as I already mentioned our use of bone marrow transplant has been employing the principles of stem cell development for many years, only we were not employing the term. It is very important to note that these blood stem cell have already been programmed to achieve their destiny to become adult blood cells. This is unlike the stem cells taken from embryos or umbilical cords whose ultimate destiny we do not know. I will come back to this later in this Blog.

Today, the issue of Stem Cell research is emotionally charged by promising cures in almost every serious chronic disease plaguing the human race: retinal degeneration, Parkinsons Disease, Alzheimers,, spinal cord injuries, stroke, burns, heart disease, Type 1 diabetes, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, muscular dystrophies, and liver disease. With such a long list, the scientists and their political sycophants are amassing a large group of emotionally involved individuals who will serve as their source of monetary funding, not to speak of the ability of this large army to mobilize political support for their point of view..

When I was a young boy, I would venture deep into the woods observing everything in nature. Very early in life I read the biography of Pasteur and a true scientist I wanted to be.

It was not until I went to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that I discovered that all scientists were not all that noble. After all, scientists were drawn from the same human pool from which lawyers, accountants, and other professionals came. At the NIH I met many honorable and some not so honorable men. In fact, I met a few outright dishonest individuals who might well be described as empire builders at any expense. The public would be sold a bill of goods solely for the purposes of building the laboratory empire of a few. But, be that as it may, some of these individuals even believed their own hype and press. In this process they become true believers and expound their beliefs and draw other would be believers to their cause.

Today scientists doing Stem Cell research are asking us to believe that Stem Cells will cure every disease not yet cured. This is not the case, my friends. Although it would seem that stem cells might offer a new approach to curing some diseases, even after several years of such research, not a single disease or medical condition has yet been cured except for the single one mentioned earlier and we have known how to treat this particular problem for years. So let us not believe every scientific charlatan coming down the block. Most of all let us not call those who do not believe all this hype names accusing them of being cruel non-believers. The Stem Cell debate has entered the political sphere and you already know what I think about that.

I am always drawn to my education in philosophy to put things in perspective. A stem cell in a developing embryo is directed finally to become a tissue then an organ by forces admittedly beyond our knowledge, control, and comprehension. Where is that same stem cell going once removed from the body? Where are the unknown forces which once directed it to go somewhere and become something within the body now? How do we tell it what to become when we did not know how it was directed while within the embryo? I believe that unless we find the answers to these questions, we are blindly going nowhere.

There have been reports of individuals who have gone abroad to places like South East Asia and got injected with stem cells and experienced some temporary cures. But they might also have been cured by having been injected with monkey gonad tissue! I have seen cures of diseases by some strange practices but not in every case and every time. Remember the Placebo Effect? The strong contribution of the effect the mind has upon the ability to cure oneself must also be considered.

As intelligent individuals we need to understand that what we want to believe might be different from what should be or is to be believed. In many of my Blogs I implore readers to be reasonable in evaluating what others are asking them to believe. Inquire of the motives of the preacher before we jump on the band wagon. Once reason disappears adequate and intelligent evaluation is impossible. Remember OMT.

At Boston College I had an old Physics Professor who the first day of class wrote on the chalk board: OMT, standing for Observe, Measure, and Think. He quickly added than some might translate this to Old Man Tobin, but this was not so. The Professors name was Father Tobin! Although he was in his eighties at the time, he was still a sharp thinker. As I also recalled the Jesuits never seemed to retire their members of the SJ.

The lesson here is always to approach a situation with the scrutiny of Occams Razor, described in an earlier Blog, but also to OM, Observe, Measure, and then to T, Think and Evaluate. Yes, I would like to add the T so we will have OMTE.

Much like the Global Warming debate, those who legitamately disagree with the true worth of pushing forward with Stem Cell Research should not be demonized for their critical approach.

I will write later on the relative value of stem cells from embryos versus from adult sources such as umbilical cord.

nicola michael c. Tauraso, M.D.

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