Monday, December 07, 2009

What happened to the stem cell hype?

Dr. Robert White explains why the hysteria over embryonic stem cells seems to be quieting down, especially with regards to Parkinson's.
First of all, this chronic neurological condition has been found to be far more complex than originally thought. Yes, it is still characterized by the death of specific nerve cells which produce a neurotransmitter called "dopamine." The majority of these cells are located deep within the brain in an area called the "midbrain" (which is sort of a crossroad between the cerebral hemispheres and the brain stem/spinal cord). What has recently been documented is that, Parkinsonism, also known as PK, is a far more complex tissue abnormality involving other areas and circuits of the brain.....

Secondly, the analysis of two clinical studies on injecting fetal stem cells directly into the brain that were conducted during the 1990s unfortunately demonstrated that many of the patients in the control who did not receive injections did better neurologically than those who had been injected with fetal cells. Some young injected patients tragically developed "dyskinesia" (painful uncontrolled movements). Thirdly, new difficulties were encountered in the cell culture growth of primitive cells in converting them into dopamine producing neurons.

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