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Changes For The Future Essay

2143 words - 9 pages

How many people in the world would donate their organs if it could help save the life of another? People die everyday waiting for someone to donate the matching organ. Imagine living a life day to day not knowing if there is a future. What if, instead of waiting for someone to die, for them to receive the organ, there were organs available when needed? Many individuals are living their lives of incurable diseases, while their family and friends watch helplessly. What if, instead of watching them helplessly, they can watch them grow stronger? Is it possible? Scientists say yes, but is there a price to pay? Stem cell research, with the proper funding, and available embryonic stem ...view middle of the document...

The inner cell mass is made up of embryonic stem cells" (ISSCR). Human embryonic stem cells have only recently become available for research. Most of what scientists do know come from studies that has been performed on mice. "Among the types of cells derived from cultured mice ESCs are fat cells, various brain and nervous system cells, insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, bone cells, hematopoietic cells, yolk sac, endothelial cells, primitive endodermal cells, and smooth and striated muscle cells, including cardiomyocytes--heart muscle cells" (Commission n. page). There are hopes that with enough research, embryonic stem cells can be used to treat Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, spinal cord injuries, strokes, and debilitating diseases.Nancy Reagan, wife of former President Ronald Reagan, strongly endorses the research for stem cells. Former President Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 1994, and recently passed away from Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's is a brain disease that causes loss of memory and destroys the brain cells. Eventually the brain loses function because the cells have been destroyed. "In Alzheimer's disease, the injection of either embryonic or umbilical cord stem cells has been shown to significantly increase the laboratory animals' life spans and mental functions. Russian physicians, who have given embryonic stem cells to Alzheimer's patients at six month intervals, report that the improvements are better with stem cells than other therapies" (Ende n. page). As of now, there is no treatment for Alzheimer's disease using stem cells. However, scientists are still looking for a breakthrough that might help treat this disease.Another individual who has taken a stand for this research is Christopher Reeves, an actor, and quadriplegic. Reeves is a well-known advocate for stem cell research. He was paralyzed from a horse back riding incident in 1995, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down and left him relying on a ventilator to breath. People might say he was only advocating embryonic stem cell research in hopes to find a cure for himself. It was shown to be otherwise in a recent interview with Reader's Digest, where he was asked about his view on embryonic stem cell research, and he stated, "I advocate it because I think scientists should be free to pursue every possible avenue. It appears though, at the moment, that embryonic stem cells are effective in treating acute injuries and are not able to do much about chronic injuries" (Nash n. page). Christopher Reeves spent his years trying to do everything he could to help people find out more about spinal cord injury.In 1991, Micheal J. Fox, another advocate for stem cell research, was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. This disease affects the nerve cells in the brain that control muscle movements. This disease can cause tremors and loss of balance. Parkinson's disease gradually gets worse over time, but can be treated with medication in the early stages. "Restoration of...

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