So… this info is eventually going to go on a page of its own, but for now, I’m just going to say a few things here.
What’s this blog about?
Stem cell links
Basic stem cell information
Stem cell personal stories
Stem cell rants.
Yep, there will be some rants here. If anybody DOESN’T want to read rants… well, Paul Knoefpler’s Blog is pretty non-ranty, and is written by a researcher in the hard sciences.
I have a masters’ degree in social work, so I do know about the social sciences, and I definitely know how to find and read research papers. One of the most useful things I ever learned is how to think about information, how to evaluate and interpret it in the most basic ways. Some info is good, and some is bad. What makes it good or bad, trustworthy or untrustworthy? That’s not always easy to say. But there are some really obvious red flags.
INFORMATION IS PUBLISHED ON PUBMED.GOV: More likely to be good.
INFORMATION IS PUBLISHED ON THE FRONT PAGE OF THE EXAMINER, RIGHT UNDERNEATH THE CLOSEUP PICTURE OF KIM KARDASHIAN’S BUTT: Not so likely to be good.
But when it comes to stem cell research lately, the signs are not so clear. You’d think that you could trust a paper published in Nature, for example? It’s one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world. But that’s where the original papers for the appalling STAP disaster were published (and believe me, we’ll be talking more about that one.) Wouldn’t you think that if research is being done at Harvard, you could trust it? But their glowing 2013 paper about how easy it was going to be to create stem cell cures for Type I diabetes…. it didn’t work out so well. It all reminds me of the old logic class question. Let’s say that on the one hand, you have a prestigious research scientist who just won the Nobel Prize; on the other, you have a homeless person you just brought in off the street. They’re both saying something about science. Which one is guaranteed to be right?
The correct answer is… neither one. The rightness or wrongness of the statement has to rest on the evidence itself.
And lest you think this example, could have no practical application, look at what just happened with Dr. Yamanaka. He won the Nobel Prize in 2012 for discovering iPSC cells (mature cells that can be converted into stem cells.) So you’d think that he WOULDN’T say something so dumb that a sixth grader would get an F in a science class for it… right?
SY: Human ESC was a great discovery for regenerative medicine and also instrumental to the discovery of iPSC and the type of medical treatments we are aiming to apply iPSC. At the same time, the ethical issues that hESC possess mean that as iPSC technology improves, hESC will be less needed.
Really? So he doesn’t know that Dr. Lanza has a patented technique for generating new cells without destroying the embryo? And that he’s had it since 2007?
So you see what I mean about the rants. 😉
Anyway. What I want to do here is to present facts and logical arguments, but yes, I want people to feel something when they read this blog. I want people to get angry that we don’t have stem cell cures yet, because there are definitely some that we could have right now. I want people to realize that if we all live long enough, every single one of us, without exception, will need stem cell-based cures. So we have to fight for the cures that are effective. If we don’t do it, nobody else will. And I think that if we educate ourselves, stand together, and fight together, we can win.
More later! 🙂
I survived the disease, and I now have the only remission on record. But a remission is not a cure. The stem cell drug I need for a real cure is now rapidly moving towards approval in the rest of the world, but in the USA, it—and all other cellular therapies-- are still stuck behind prejudice, ignorance, and lack of funding. Hundreds of millions of desperate patients with incurable diseases need these drugs.
That’s why I’ve gone on to fight for greater public education on stem cell drugs, knowing that our laws must be changed so that all of us can get access to the best treatments instead of our health and our lives being held hostage by special interests.
I’m now a patient advocate whose work on stem cells and patients’ rights has been published in outlets such as the Oregonian. I am a manager at popular science and financial blog www.stemcellinvestor.com and a frequent speaker at many venues across the spectrum, including churches, scientific conferences, and atheist groups, and everything in between. I’m also an advocate for Right to Try laws that would allow access to experimental medication for terminal patients at the state level. Read the entire story in my upcoming book, And the Blind Shall See: A Skeptic Patient Surprised by Faith, Science, Family, and Miracle Cures.
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