Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

Stem Cells Restore Memory Function in Mice


The Washington Post prominently reports a syndicated story, byline Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News, that stem cells have restored memory in mice. Those would be embryonic stem cells that the media and "the scientists" continually insist offer the "best hope" for such treatments, right? Uh, that would be a big negative. The stem cells came from the brains of the mice. From the story:

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 31 (HealthDay News) -- A new U.S. study involving mice suggests the brain's own stem cells may have the ability to restore memory after an injury.

These neural stem cells work by protecting existing cells and promoting neuronal connections. In their experiments, a team at the University of California, Irvine, were able to bring the rodents' memory back to healthy levels up to three months after treatment.

The finding could open new doors for treatment of brain injury, stroke and dementia, experts say. "This is one of the first reports that you can take a stem cell transplantation approach and restore memory," said lead researcher Mathew Blurton-Jones, a postdoctorate fellow at the university. "There is a lot of awareness that stem cells might be useful in treating diseases that cause loss of motor function, but this study shows that they might benefit memory in stroke or traumatic brain injury, and potentially Alzheimer's disease."

And don't forget that in one human test, Dennis Turner's own neural stem cells seem to have promoted a pronounced remission in Parkinson's disease.

This is all still early, and we don't know whether it will translate into treatments for humans yet. But if I hear one more time that embryonic stem cells and cloning offer the "only hope" or "best hope" for regenerative medical treatments, my brain will explode--and then I will need these treatments.

Also note that mice were required for this experiment--contrary to the ludicrous assertions by animal liberationists that animal research provides no benefit.


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