Monday, November 29, 2004

The Promise

During the time immediately prior to the Democratic Convention in August, stem cell research had once again put on a very public face. Ronald Reagan had just passed away from Alzheimer's disease, and Ron Jr. ignited a firestorm by speaking at the convention in Boston. Some even say that Ron Jr.'s speech was the catalyst for Zell Miller's hate-mongering at the GOP convention a month later.

In any case, quite a few of us chimed in at the time, indicating that we had a personal stake in the issue of stem cell research. For myself, it was my mother, who passed away earlier this year after suffering from (not battling, as the media would portray it) Alzheimer's. And obviously, there's the potential genetic connection to both myself and my kids.

The fundie wing of the GOP has made it quite clear - they do not support stem cell research, for all of the usual suspect reasons. One of those reasons (allegedly) is the lack of empirical evidence that such research and therapy will actually help people. For the less-than-blind, the evidence has been there for quite a few years. The science just needs to mature.

And now, it appears that we may have a human face on the benefits of stem cell therapy. It's just too bad that the face didn't have blonde hair, blue eyes, and live in Nebraska, because the story might actually get some real attention:

Paralyzed woman walks again after stem cell therapy

A South Korean woman paralyzed for 20 years is walking again after scientists say they repaired her damaged spine using stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood.

Hwang Mi-Soon, 37, had been bedridden since damaging her back in an accident two decades ago.

Last week her eyes glistened with tears as she walked again with the help of a walking frame at a press conference where South Korea researchers went public for the first time with the results of their stem-cell therapy...
We all know that the Bush Administration prefers faith-based answers to scientific problems. But I'd be willing to bet that a well-heeled, card carrying member of the religous right would be the first to send a loved one to South Korea if they thought there was a chance of helping the loved one.