Real Scientists don’t take a Vote to Settle Science

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 15th, 2014

Week in Review

What is science?  Do scientists gather and vote on theories?  And do those theories become settled science?  Or is it something more like this (see Japanese Institute Weighs Retracting Stem-Cell Studies by Alexander Martin and Gautam Naik posted 3/10/2014 on The Wall Street Journal)?

The co-author, Teruhiko Wakayama of Yamanashi University in Japan, called Monday for the retraction of the findings, published in late January in a pair of papers in the journal Nature.

The papers drew international attention because they held out a safer, easier and more ethical technique for creating master stem cells. These cells, which can be turned into all other body tissues, promise one day to transform the treatment of various ailments, from heart disease to Alzheimer’s.

But shortly after the papers appeared, Japan’s Riken Center for Developmental Biology, where the work took place, began to investigate alleged irregularities in images used in the papers. Separately, many labs said they couldn’t replicate the results…

Like several other researchers, Dr. Wakayama said he hasn’t yet been able to reproduce the results. “There is no value in it if the technique cannot be replicated,” he said.

Science is more like this.  It’s aggressive and relentless.  Scientists work hard to replicate previous results.  And they work hard to disprove past theories.  The key to science, then, is never accepting anything as settled.  No.  Everything is questioned.  Forever.  That’s real science.  Unlike climate science.  Where people apparently use voting in lieu of vigorous experimentation to replicate results or disprove past theories.  So anyone stating that manmade global warming is settled science is not a scientist.  Or a truthful person.

All the people who claim manmade global warming is settled science are either people who want to greatly expand the power of government over the economy.  Or they are just grossly ignorant.  These ignorant people, of course, help those who want to greatly expand the power of government over the economy.  Which is why we should not listen to politicians when it comes to science.  Or ignoramuses.  For once upon a time the polar icecaps weren’t frozen.  And at another time glaciers reached down from the poles towards the equator.  Long before man ever put any carbon into the atmosphere.  Climate changes.  And it has changed a lot more drastically before man appeared on the scene.  So anyone claiming man is causing this is either a liar.  Or an ignoramus.

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Stem Cells from Cadavers promise more Hope than Embryonic Stem Cells ever Promised

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 23rd, 2012

Week in Review

One of the most politicized subjects is stem cells.  The potential miracle cure for the worst that ails us.  They could make the blind see again.  And the paralyzed walk again.  The Left politicized Michael J. Fox and Christopher Reeve.  Saying we could cure Fox’s Parkinson’s disease and Reeve’s paralysis with the miracle of stem cells.  But not just any stem cells.  Embryonic stem cells.  That is if it wasn’t for the rascally Republicans who wanted Fox and Reeve to continue to suffer their maladies.  Even die.  Because Republicans opposed using aborted fetuses for ethical reasons.  While the Left wanted the use of embryonic stem cells as they would give abortions a higher purpose.  The gift of life.  After extinguishing life (see Cadaver stem cells offer new hope of life after death by Jessica Hamzelou posted 12/21/2012 on New Scientist).

Dead bodies can provide organs for transplants, now they might become a source of stem cells too. Huge numbers of stem cells can still be mined from bone marrow five days after death to be potentially used in a variety of life-saving treatments.

Human bone marrow contains mesenchymal stem cells, which can develop into bone, cartilage, fat and other cell types. MSCs can be transplanted and the type of cell they form depends on where they are injected. Cells injected into the heart, for example, can form healthy new tissue, a useful therapy for people with chronic heart conditions.

Unlike other tissue transplants, MSCs taken from one person tend not to be rejected by another’s immune system. In fact, MSCs appear to pacify immune cells. It is this feature which has made MSC treatments invaluable for children with graft-versus-host disease, in which transplants aimed at treating diseases such as leukaemia attack the child instead…

While only limited amounts of bone marrow can be taken from a living donor, a cadaver represents a plentiful source of cells, says D’Ippolito. “From one donor, you could take the whole spine, for example. You are going to end up with billions of cells…”

… Chris Mason at University College London sees a potential hurdle in using such MSCs in therapy. “The work is novel and intriguing… but it would be better to use a living donor,” he says. That’s partly because medical regulators oppose treating individuals with stem cells from more than one source. “You can always go back and get more stem cells from a living donor if you need them, but if you use a cadaver, you’ll eventually run out.”

They’re making great strides with adult stem cells.  From living donors.  And now from dead ones.  But one thing you don’t hear a lot about are advances made with embryonic stem cells.  Could it be that the Left was wrong all along?  That they were just looking for a noble purpose for abortions?  Perhaps.

A big problem with embryonic stem cells was their rejection.  Or complications that resulted in things like tumors.  Things that didn’t happen with adult stem cells.  Especially those harvested from the same body.  And now apparently from dead people.  People who have died from some other cause other than abortion.

The continued advances in adult stem cell research leave advances in embryonic stem cell research conspicuous by its absence.  Despite all of the false hope the Left gave people like Michael J. Fox and Christopher Reeve.  Suggesting that their arguments were more political than medical.  As everything with them is political.  For everything is about advancing their agenda.  And they were more than willing to lead medical research down a false path to advance their agenda.

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The British create Stem Cells from Blood that don’t have the same Rejection Problems as Embryonic Stem Cells

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 2nd, 2012

Week in Review

Stem cells were all the rage once.  They were going to cure everything.  Even make Christopher Reeve walk again.  Who was paralyzed during an equestrian competition.  And who the Republicans wanted to stay paralyzed.  Apparently.  As they opposed using embryonic stem cells from aborted fetuses.  Worried of the precedent this would give.  Taking a life (an aborted fetus) so another life could live.

This raised a lot of ethical issues on the Right.  But not the Left.  Who looked at it as giving abortions a noble purpose.  Terminating the gestation of the fetus and using the embryonic stem cells to make miracle drugs.  It was a two-for for the Democrats.  Miracle drugs.  And a good reason to abort fetuses.  So it was all you heard about in the news.  The miracle of stem cells.  As long as they were embryonic stem cells, though.  For if it didn’t involve an abortion the Left didn’t seem to care much about it.  Which is a pity because there are some developments on the non-abortion-side of stem cell research (see Stem cells being made from blood by James Gallagher posted 11/29/2012 on BBC News Health).

A patient’s own blood has been used to make personalised stem cells, which doctors hope will eventually be used to treat a range of diseases…

Stem cells are one of the great hopes of medical research. They can transform into any other type of cell the body is built from – so they should be able to repair everything from the brain to the heart, and eyes to bone.

One source of stem cells is embryos, but this is ethically controversial and they would be rejected by the immune system in the same way as an organ transplant.

Researchers have shown that skin cells taken from an adult can be tricked into becoming stem cells, which the body should recognise as part of itself and would not reject.

Yawn.  You hear nothing from the American Left about these exciting developments.  I mean, you’re not hearing anything like the excitement we heard from them when they attacked any politician running for office who opposed the use of embryonic stem cells.  Michael J. Fox, suffering from Parkinson disease, even made a political ad to support a Democrat candidate who ran against a Republican who was opposed to the use of embryonic cells.  But these new developments will pass by quietly in the background.

It makes you think.  Especially with the past election.  Where abortion and birth control dominated the Democrats’ strategy.  They put the fear of God into as many women as possible that if the Republicans won women would soon be back in back-alleys for their abortions.  That birth control would soon become a thing of the past.  That all women would be reduced to being baby making machines.  Suffering through a life of cooking, cleaning and baby-making.  Hell on earth.  Or, in other words, being married.

It worked.  Women voted for President Obama to keep their birth control and abortion.  Even though no one was threatening to take it away.  And even though we’ve lived under 20 years of Republican presidents since the Sixties and not one of them took away their abortion or birth control.  But spreading the lie that the Republicans would do just that should they win election scared enough women to make a difference.  Which clearly shows why the Left was so excited about embryonic stem cells.  It provided a purpose for abortion.  A noble purpose.  To save life.  And how they wished with all of their might that embryonic stem cells delivered what some promised.  They would have loved to have that argument to make.  That abortion was not only a liberating women’s health issue but a noble issue as well.  Sigh.  It just wasn’t to be.  Sure, these new blood stem cells are an exciting development.  But where is the politics in that?

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American Profit-Driven Health Care System provides New Hope for Transplant Patients

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 11th, 2012

Week in Review

There’s good news and bad news for transplant patients.  The good news is that Obamacare is not yet fully implemented.   The bad news is that unless the new President and/or Congress repeals Obamacare, it will be.  And if and when that happens developments like this will be a thing of the past (see Immune system tricked to accept donor organs: study by Julie Steenhuysen posted 3/9/2012 on Reuters).

Scientists have found a way to trick the immune system into accepting organs from a mismatched, unrelated organ donor, a finding that could help patients avoid a lifetime of drugs to prevent rejection of the donated organ…

With conventional organ transplants, recipients need to take pills to suppress their immune systems for the rest of their lives. These drugs can cause serious side effects, including high blood pressure, diabetes, infection, heart disease and cancer.

This new approach would potentially offer a better quality of life and fewer health risks for transplant recipients,” Dr. Suzanne Ildstad, director of the Institute of Cellular Therapeutics at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, who developed the new approach, said in a statement.

The new technique draws on research by Australian immunologist Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet and Brazilian-born British zoologist Peter Medawar, who won the 1960 Nobel Prize for discovering that the immune system in animals can be trained to acquire tolerance of foreign tissue.

But it has been a long road to bring this about in people, says Dr. Joseph Leventhal, a transplant surgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, where the transplants took place.

To get transplant recipients to accept the donor organ, the team needs to condition” them by suppressing their body’s bone marrow with chemotherapy and radiation before transplanting the donor’s bone marrow, the soft fatty tissue inside bones. Bone marrow contains immature blood-forming stem cells that give rise to all blood cells, including immune system cells.

The idea here is to try to use donor-derived stem cells to achieve engraftment, a state we call chimerism,” Leventhal, a co-author of the study, said in a telephone interview. Here what we are trying to do is get donor and recipient cells to peacefully coexist in the transplant recipient.”

About a month before transplant surgery, kidney donors must inject themselves with a medication for several days that forces stem cells and other key cells called facilitating cells” into their bloodstream, from where they can be collected and sent off to the University of Louisville for processing.

Leventhal said these facilitating cells” are naturally occurring cells that help create a more favorable environment for the stem cells and allow engraftment to occur safely.

Ildstad has developed a process for enriching these cells and formed a company called Regenerex LLC, which is developing the patented technology.

Louisville, Kentucky?  Chicago, Illinois?  And American pharmaceutical company?  An amazing new procedure?  See a pattern here?  The American health care system.  At least, pre-Obamacare.  Because up until Obamacare health care in America was a profit-driven system.  Providing huge financial incentives to encourage investors to invest in things exactly like this.  This did not come out of the UK.  Where their nationally funded National Health Service (NHS) is bursting at the seams due to out of control costs.  And causing great government deficits.  Where their focus is on cost cutting.  And the rationing of services.  To keep the NHS afloat.  Where investors don’t take financial risks.  Taxpayers just pay more.

This will be the future in America under Obamacare.  A change from where investors help bring about amazing new procedures and drugs.  To one where the focus is on cost cutting.  And the rationing of services.  At least based on all the empirical evidence we have so far.

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The U.S. Government Focuses on Embryonic Stem Cells, Cheese and Cow Burps

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 8th, 2010

Embryonic Stem Cells no Longer the Last Best Hope?

Embryonic stem cells.  A very polarizing topic.  Some say they could cure the incurable.  Others say that using them is nothing more than harvesting human life.  Their potential so far has been mostly theoretical.  Unlike adult stem cells, which we have had success in treating patients. 

Obviously, this is a Right vs. Left dispute.  The pro-life Right being ‘con’.  The pro-choice Left being ‘pro’.  And the Left played to our emotions.  Promising they would let Christopher Reeve walk again.  And a Parkinson-stricken Michael J. Fox made a very emotional appeal on behalf of Democrats.  Calling embryonic stem cells the last best hope.

Meanwhile, in Canada, they’re turning skin into blood (see Scientists turn skin into blood posted on Breitbart).  Your blood.  From your skin.  A perfect genetic match.  Without using embryonic stem cells.  It promises to help in treating anemia, with chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants.  This is doing some of what embryonic stem cells promised to do.  Only better.

Stem cells that are derived from human embryos hold significant promise for medical breakthroughs but also carry risks, such as the potential to create tumors.

Good news indeed.  Less controversy.  Less risk.  More promise.  Even Left and Right can agree.  This is good.

From Cutting the Cheese to Force-Feeding Us the Cheese

Over in the United States, they’re making progress elsewhere.  They’re looking at greenhouse gas emissions.  Emitted by cow burps (see UNH scientists to study cow burps . . . and more by Clynton Namuo, New Hampshire Union Leader Correspondent, posted on Union Leader).  Apparently, they’ve been studying cow flatulence, too, for they note cows emit more methane from belching than from cutting the cheese.  And when government is not studying cow burps and other gaseous emissions, what are they doing?  Why, they’re trying to kill us.

Michelle Obama is campaigning against obesity while at the same time the federal government is trying to get us to eat more cheese (see While Warning About Fat, U.S. Pushes Cheese Sales by Michael Moss posted on The New York Times.)  Why?  Well, the federal government used to buy surplus dairy products to help dairy farmers keep dairy prices high.  With this artificial demand, dairy production boomed.  And the federal government was running out of space to store the surplus.  So they came up with the idea to get people to eat more of these saturated fats-loaded products.

Dairy Management [a marketing creation of the United States Department of Agriculture], through the “Got Milk?” campaign, has been successful at slowing the decline in milk consumption, particularly focusing on schoolchildren. It has also relentlessly marketed cheese and pushed back against the Agriculture Department’s suggestion that people eat only low-fat or fat-free varieties.

And they do this despite knowing better.

Agriculture Department data show that cheese is a major reason the average American diet contains too much saturated fat.

In other words, it’s all that cheese we’re eating that is making us so obese.

The Lack of Partisanship May Be Killing Americans

There’s a lot of talk about people being tired of partisanship.  But when the U.S. Government counts killing Americans with heart disease as one of their fiscal tools, I think we could all use a little more partisanship.  With friends like government we don’t need any enemies.  And if they’re looking to kill us in an indirect way to cut their agriculture budget, one can only wonder what they will do to cut their Obamacare budget.  All of a sudden those ‘death panels’ don’t seem so farfetched.

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