Stem cells let paralyzed rats walk; humans next
Thank God that science always wins in the battle between science and religion -- as proved by Galileo vs. the Catholic Church. Here's good news (and another reason the pro-life Evangelical Talibans should shut the fuck up about stem cell research):
"Researchers studying embryonic stem cells have revealed how they enabled rats with crushed spinal cords to walk again. Hans Keirstead, an assistant professor of anatomy and neurobiology, has been showing video of his rats since 2002. One clip shows a rat dragging its feet, unable to lift its tail. In the next clip, the rat can lift its tail high, bear its own weight and move about. Keirstead reported the rats also regained bladder and bowel functions.
"Many scientists believe the cells will lead to treatments for many diseases, and they're determined to pursue the research despite President Bush's limits on federal funding of stem-cell studies. In Keirstead's latest study, the scientists injected injured rats with cells derived from human embryonic stem cells, which usually come from embryos discarded at in vitro fertilization clinics. The researchers injected one group of rats seven days after injury, and another group ten months after injury. In the recently injured rats, the cells, called oligodendrocytes, formed myelin, a protective insulator of neurons. The myelin wrapped around damaged neurons in the spinal cord, and within two months the rats were walking. But the rats with 10-month-old injuries failed to regain motor skills, because scar tissue surrounding the neurons prevented the cells from forming myelin."
KIND of heart-breaking, really: it looks like only those people will be able to walk again who were injured shortly before the breakthrough with humans is going to happen. Those with longstanding paralysis will have to wait for a bigger breakthrough. Meanwhile, no thanks to Bush and his Evangelic Taliban for doing the Christian thing -- like helping those in need, instead of banging on about their medieval ideology.