Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Putting Faith Before the Science and Deceiving the Public

I miss the conservative that was the Alex P. Keaton character. And I am terribly sorry for Michael J. Fox's condition, and the millions who suffer as he does, along with their families. I miss him as well.

From Michael J. Fox's autobiography:
I had made a deliberate choice to appear before the subcommittee without medication. It seemed to me that this occasion demanded that my testimony about the effects of the disease, and the urgency we as a community were feeling, be seen as well as heard. For people who had never observed me in this kind of shape, the transformation must have been startling.
Sums it all up nicely. The update from a reader whose relative has Parkinson's, writes:
I don't pretend to be an expert, but he gets shakey and termors when he TAKES the medication. (Without the medication, Parkinson's freezes the muscles - makes them rigid). The medication loosens the muscles, overdoing it, and thus causing the shaking.
I have no doubt about the sincerity of Fox's belief in the research; but it is based on faith; and the desperation to find a cure borders on Juan Ponce De Leon search for "the fountain of youth". Surely, Fox's desire to fund embryonic stem cell research can't be based upon the actual science, which has yielded zero cures or treatments thus far. Will embryonic stem cell research see fruition, and all the more quickly if only funded by the government? Perhaps. But in the meantime, let's not put all of our eggs in a basket of faith; especially when half the country questions the ethical means to unguaranteed results.

Previous post. Direct linking isn't working for me right now. You can access through the archives (hopefully) and look for my post dated March 5, 2006.
Freedom Eden blogs on the Michael J. Fox ad.
Little Ms. Chatterbox weighs in.
Go here to check out some various youtube videos, including the ad in question.



Blogger Gayle said...

I've seen the ad in question, more than once, on Fox News.

I am really sorry that Michael Fox is suffering from this debilitating disease; I truly am. I wish there were a cure for it, and a cure discovered in time to cure him, but there isn't a cure for it and there isn't any proof that Embryonic Stem Cell reasearch is going to do anything to cure this disease. It is all based on faith just as you say, and furthermore I am disappointed in Michael Fox for using his disease for political means. I think he knows better.

It is true that Parkinsons freezes muscles, at least in both of the cases I know of personally. So, it also seems that this poor soul lied to further a political agenda. I wondered about that point when I first saw the video.

Many people will unfortunately believe that if only Embryonic stem cell research were allowed and funded by the Government then Michael Fox will be cured, and how can they deny this poor, unfortunate, very popular and very loved man?

I miss Alex Keaton too!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006 9:47:00 PM  
Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

"I miss the conservative that was the Alex P. Keaton character. And I am terribly sorry for Michael J. Fox's condition, and the millions who suffer as he does, along with their families. I miss him as well."
I can't tell you how much I agree with those words. My sentiments exactly!!!

Excellent post!! I talked about the exact same thing on my post today because of Fox doing one of his ads here in Missouri.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006 11:00:00 PM  
Blogger Curt said...

Pure politics. He has been seen without those symptoms recently so it's obvious he went off his meds. Now the question is, was it right of him to do that?

If it was to send a true message I would not be against it so much. But to say:

"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."

is an outright lie and absurd. The only limit is on federal funding of embryonic research, but private dollars still go to that side of it. Plus, to call it "promising" is baloney. It is not supported by any evidence nor any findings from research done to date. All it is, basically, is a HOPE that it will be promising.

"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."

None of this is stated by Michael.

Politics, thats all this is....and bad politics at that.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006 11:28:00 PM  
Blogger The Angry American said...

I like Fox as an actor,and as a person. He seems to be a nice person in his personal life. but I don't like the fact that the ad tried to paint a picture that stem cell research is illegal. As most of us know stem cell research is legal,and so is embryonic stem cell research. However embryonic is currently slightly limited due to the fact that they do not what an embryo black market,and Curt is 100% right there has not yet been one advance in embryonic research and if you talk to a doctor who deals with stem cell research they will tell you that in order for someone to get help from embryonic stem cells they must be a perfect match, read that again a PERFECT match. What the Missouri bill is about it is about using the embryonic stem cells from a clone of the person getting the stem cells. My sister was diagnosed with M.S. about 5 years ago,and I support stem cell,and I am slightly in favor of embryonic stem cell research so long as it stays limited unless it can be proven to work,but there is no way with a clear mind I could ever support cloning for the purpose of using your clones embryonic stem cells. For one it is only a theory, and two we are not gods,and creating life artificaly for the purpse of killing it is wrong on so many levels. It makes me think of the cloning experiments that Hitler was so interested in. The Missouri bill would also open up the doors for someone to clone themselves for the purpose of harvesting organs. That is a very,very bad idea.Withen the next few years you will see that doctors will no longer be interested in embryonic stem cell research (scientist still will be) but doctors are already turning away from it because there is no scientific proof that it has the chance of helping anyone.

Thursday, October 26, 2006 2:39:00 AM  
Blogger Jayce said...

"Surely, Fox's desire to fund embryonic stem cell research can't be based upon the actual science, which has yielded zero cures or treatments thus far."

You may want to brush up on your science. Facts disagree with what you are saying.

1) The overwhelming majority of scientists and researches believe embryonic stem cells have much more potential than adult stem cells.

2) There have been significant results from embryonic stem cell research, mainly in mice and monkeys. Here's a link -

Friday, October 27, 2006 9:47:00 AM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...


Thanks for the dissenting opinion, and for the link. I still contest the science, though. It is being conflated. The scientific literature does not point to embryonic stem cell research as "the most promising". The way it is being promoted is deceptive and is akin to selling snake oil. If anything ever comes of the research, great. The ethics issue aside, I still don't see how federal funding is necessary, over private or even state-funding.

And from my previous post, which I had linked in this one, regarding those lab rats :

Spinal Confusion points out the following misleading errors:

Ed Bradley: "Laboratory rats whose hind legs were completely paralyzed — until they were injected with human stem cells. Remarkably, afterwards, the rats were able to walk again."
Pending FDA approval, correspondent Ed Bradley reports that would make him the first scientist in the United States to transplant embryonic stem cells into humans.

Steven Edwards, who has spinal cord injury and who is a research advocate, points out the treatment was not with stem cells but with human oligodendroglial precursor cells.

He writes in a letter to 60 Minutes:

Hans Kierstead's team does *not* transplant embryonic stem cells into the spinal cord. They generate a specific type of cells known as oligodendroglial precursor cells (OPCs) by culturing the embryonic stem cells and then transplant these OPCs, which remyelinate the demyelinated axons.

Friday, October 27, 2006 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger Jayce said...

I don't have much time to comment, but here are a few quick thoughts...

1) Obviously federal funding would expand the research of embryonic stem cells. The vast majority of scientists and researches believe that is a very important thing.

2) I'm not sure how your quote invalidates the fact that ESCs were able to make paralyzed mice walk again. They may have injected them with OPCs, but they were formed from the ESCs. That's what makes the embryonic cells so much more advantagous to adult cells... They're pluripotent, and thus able to divide into a much more diverse number of cells (in this case nerve cells) than adult stem cells.

Friday, October 27, 2006 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger Jayce said...

I should have said that embryonic cells can divide into a greater number of specific cells.

If you need bone marrow, adult stem cells can work great. But at this time, it appears adult stem cells are unable to make nerve cells, while embryonic stem cells can.

Friday, October 27, 2006 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger Orycteropus Afer said...

For a Parkinson's counterpoint, you should check out A Dog in the Fight, a letter from a Missouri Lutheran pastor who suffers from the disease but opposes Amendment 2.

Friday, October 27, 2006 4:04:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

orycteropus, thanks for the link. It was a nice read. I've heard of others (Charles Krauthammer comes to mind, as well as Spinal Confusion) who suffer from conditions that are promised to be treatable, if only embryonic stem cell research were to push forward; and who also reject the research on moral questions and moral grounds.

Jayce, I am inclined to believe that there is a "fighting" chance that cures and treatments may one day arise out of embryonic stem cell research; that maybe they will figure out a way to keep the esc from going into tumor; that maybe even just one treatment or cure will be discovered, to make it all worthwhile. But until you convince the other half of the country on the moral issue, I'm fine with the limitations on federal funding.

When California passed Prop 71 in the 2004 Election, I questioned why the state with the largest debt cost in the country and lowest credit rating would "borrow" money in the amount of $6 billion to fund a "false" promise of panacea cures.

It makes me question the motives of scientists when they knowingly play with language, replacing "nuclear transfer-embryonic stem cells" with terms like "pluripotent stem cells" and "somatic-cell nuclear transfer", that masks the moral implications of using human embryos.

Under Prop 71, there is no oversight on the $6 billion. Commission deliberations are exempt from California Open Meetings Laws, California Public Records Act, and california's Conflicts of Interest Law.

There is a lot of political demagoguery; the way it is being propogated is overreaching and giving promises that can't be guaranteed (John Edward's claim that one day someone like Christopher Reeve will just stand up out of his wheelchair and walk again, comes to mind). About 15 years ago, fetal tissue research was hyped as the "magic" key to untold cures and treatments. Nothing's really come of it.

I do believe that just recently, there was research done that created pluripotent adult stem cells. As far as I can see it, Michael J. Fox has a far better chance of finding fruition in ascr, during his lifetime. Gene-therapy was hyped 20 years ago, and we're still waiting for that to bear fruit.

From what I've heard in the past regarding experiments on lab animals, such as curing rats of Parkinson's-like disease, their brains go into tumor after about 10 weeks. Call me unexcited.

I refer you to AJStrata, who has the background to debate the issue further.

Friday, October 27, 2006 11:38:00 PM  
Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Just heard that Michael J. Fox hasn't even read Amendment II.

Monday, October 30, 2006 7:24:00 AM  
Blogger Jayce said...

I can understand your moral concern. But if they're being thrown out anyway...

From what I've read the tumor problem seems to be a result of new DNA being introduced in the host. The work-around for this involves cloning stem cells, though this is overwhelmingly disapproved of because of moral implications.

Monday, October 30, 2006 8:26:00 AM  

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