Tuesday, October 24, 2006

America Needs to Support Embryonic Stem Cell Research!

Michael J. Fox understands Parkinson's Disease.

Unfortunately, Republicans in power have put roadblocks in the way of scientists looking for a cure. Science and investigating the cures to diseases should never be politicized; but with these so-called 'family-values' fundamentalists calling the shots in Washington, people like Michael J. Fox must accept the despair that comes with the loss of hope---or work to change the political world to help bring cures to people with diseases. Michael J. Fox has chosen the latter.

Watch the video below and feel Michael's pain. This is not "Back to the Future". This is back to the dark ages when scientific investigation was suppressed.

Click HERE to go to Claire McCaskill's website to find out more about her campaign against Jim Talent.

An ad like this could make anyone uncomfortable. Especially a conservative who believes that "family values" includes interfering with research on cures using embryonic stem cells.

Listen to this mp3 from Rush Limbaugh on this ad. Listen and get sick.

As reported by the Washington Post:
"He is exaggerating the effects of the disease," Limbaugh told listeners. "He's moving all around and shaking and it's purely an act....This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting."
But experts have pointed out the ignorance, and sheer insensitivity to Rush's mouthing off. As noted:
"Anyone who knows the disease well would regard his movement as classic severe Parkinson's disease," said Elaine Richman, a neuroscientist in Baltimore who co-authored "Parkinson's Disease and the Family." "Any other interpretation is misinformed."
Even the Mayo Clinic Website explains the complication of the disease and its treatment:
"Medications for Parkinson's disease also may cause a number of complications, including involuntary twitching or jerking movements of the arms or legs (dyskinesia), hallucinations, sleepiness, and a drop in blood pressure when standing up (orthostatic hypotension)."
But don't take my word for it.

Michael J. Fox has explained in an interview:
"Q. Your public familiarity also means people look to your illness as the typical case of Parkinson's.

A. But I'm not a test case. This dyskinesia you're seeing, it comes from too much L-dopa. It's tough to get the exact amount you need. So it's kind of a trade-off between being able to sit and talk to you in a fluid way or being kind of halted and rigid.

In my day-to-day life, my kids are used to me saying things twice, or kind of haltingly, so I don't feel the same impetus. But people with P.D. will see me on television and then come up to me on the street and say, You're taking too much medication. And I'll say, Well, if you had to sit in front of Larry King for 45 minutes, you'd take too much medication too. The disease is idiosyncratic, idiopathic, and my life is so idiopathic and idiosyncratic, and the combination of the two means I'm not a test case for anybody."
As The New Republic found out, Dr. William J. Weiner, professor and charman of the department of neurology at the University of Maryland Medical Center who is also the director of the Parkinson's clinic there stated, regarding the video:
"What you are seeing on the video is side effects of the medication. He has to take that medication to sit there and talk to you like that. ... He's not over-dramatizing. ... [Limbaugh] is revealing his ignorance of Parkinson's disease, because people with Parkinson's don't look like that at all when they're not taking their medication. They look stiff, and frozen, and don't move at all. ... People with Parkinson's, when they've had the disease for awhile, are in this bind, where if they don't take any medication, they can be stiff and hardly able to talk. And if they do take their medication, so they can talk, they get all of this movement, like what you see in the ad."
But this won't stop the Conservative bloggers and spinmeisters. As Hugh Hewitt complains:
"The most distasteful aspect of the ad is the way it exploits Michael J. Fox’s physical difficulties. Fox is an actor, and clearly knew what he was doing when he signed up for the spot - no victim points for him for having been manipulated by the McCaskill campaign. The ad’s aim is to make us feel so bad about Fox’s condition that logical debate is therefore precluded. You either agree with Fox, or you sadistically endorse his further suffering as Fox accuses Jim Talent of doing."
"But it’s strange that Fox has so eagerly bought the promises of the stem cell research community. If Fox thinks that stem cell research offers him (or me) hope, he’s mistaken. Stem cell research, both embryonic and otherwise, right now represents nothing more than a promising theory. If it bears fruit, and that’s a huge “if”, it will likely do so too late to benefit Fox, me, and our contemporaries. In spite of the silky rhetoric of John Edwards-type politicians, dramatic medical innovations come slowly and take decades to pan out, not months."
Maybe Hewitt didn't see this article on ScienceDaily from 2003:
"New York, September 21, 2003 New research from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), Cornell University, and The University of Connecticut describes a novel way of producing therapeutic nerve cells that can cure mice with Parkinson's-like disease. The work, which will be published in the October issue of Nature Biotechnology (available online September 21), provides the first evidence that cloned cells can cure disease in an animal model."
Oh and by the way, much of that research was sponsored by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

The contrast between the Democrat McCaskill and the Republican Talent couldn't be clearer. As they responded regarding a proposed Missouri Amendment to guarantee stem cell research:
"AP: Do you support the state ballot initiative to protect federally allowed stem cell research in Missouri? Why or why not?

McCASKILL: I have been consistent on this issue from the beginning. I strongly believe in the lifesaving cures possible through stem cell research and I support the state ballot initiative to protect this research in Missouri. Sen. Talent, however, took 203 days after the announcement of the Missouri Cures Initiative ballot language to make up his mind. In the past year, Sen. Talent has co-sponsored a bill to criminalize doctors, patients and researchers who support this valuable research, has said that he would not take a position at all on the issue until it made it onto the ballot, and has said he is against federal and state measures to protect stem cell research.

TALENT: I cannot support the initiative because I've always been opposed to human cloning and this measure would make cloning embryos a constitutional right--without regard to medical necessity or changing technology. Missouri would be the only state to write this cloning procedure into its constitution. I respect opposing points of view and encourage every Missourian to consider the moral and scientific issues involved in the ballot initiative and reach their own judgment."

Oh yes it is blunt and uncomfortable to see a real person with Parkinson's suffering and asking politicians to support research.

But so much is riding on these elections in 2006.

Senator John Kerry understands this.

Back in the 2004 election campaign, in a radio address, he stated:
"Stem cells have the power to slow the loss of a grandmother's memory, calm the hand of an uncle with Parkinson's, save a child from a lifetime of daily insulin shots or permanently lift a best friend from his wheelchair,'' the Massachusetts senator said.

Stem cells from human embryos can form all types of cells, and scientists contend they could be used one day to replace cells damaged from such conditions as diabetes, spinal cord injury or Parkinson's disease."
Thank you Michael J. Fox! Thank you Senator John Kerry! And thank you Claire McCaskill!

And what to say about Rush and the rest of the Cons? Not much. Only that their values make me sick. And keep others without cures!

Fight disease! Fight Republican fundamentalists! Fight to take back America!

Keep on coming John! We have got your back!



Anonymous Buddy Robertson said...

I do agree that Bush and Cheney do owe our troops, and us an apoligy. I also feel that Kerry does too, what was ment to be said, and what was said are two diffrent things, he should be a man and admit what he said was wrong. I in no way agree with the war, but I have to draw the line somewhere.

10:02 PM  

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