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promises of stem cells

Thoughts on Stem Cells and Robitussin: When a new medicine or product offers great hope, it also attracts attention from the dark, shadowy places of society. This is the case, to a degree, with stem cell research. While showing success and promise in areas like treating certain blood and auto immune diseases, the internet is now full of dubious healing power of stem cells.

After a recent google search for “stem cell therapy” revealed treatments for baldness, or larger breasts, I couldn’t help but think of Chris Rock‘s famous routine where he lauded the miraculous benefits of Robitussin while growing up:

 ”Daddy, I got asthma… Robitussin”

“I got cancer… Robitussin!”

I broke my leg, Daddy poured Robitussin on it.

“Yeah, boy, let that ‘Tussin get in there… Let that Tussin get on down to the bone! The ‘Tussin ought to straighten out the bone, it’s good!”

Although I’m making light of these empty promises, the sad truth is that these irresponsible promises can actually lead to loss of more than just money. You don’t have to look far to hear stories of people who went to Asia to be treated with stem cells for something like ALS, only to die months later.

Any responsible search for the miraculous healing power of stem cells, should also be accompanied by validation from clinical trials, or data from trusted sources like the Mayo Clinic, or Web MD.

So, what’s the lesson here? While Robitussin does treat a cough, it won’t help with your sprained ankle.



*Equal due diligence is recommended before starting a diet. While you’re pretty safe with Weight Watchers Online or NutriSystem, there seems to be a new trendy (and potentially dangerous) diet developed and marketed every week online!

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diet stem cells

Diet, Blood Sugar Levels, & Exercise Help Stem Cells: Recently doctors have seen that fatty foods aren’t the real enemy in the war on heart disease in this country, and that sugar and refined carbohydrates are the real enemy, as they directly affect all-important blood sugar levels.

These blood sugar levels, or “glycemic index,” are what diabetics pay close attention to, but it’s extremely important to all of us. It also appears obvious that there is an important link between your diet and stem cells.

One example is that in a recent study, those with poor blood sugar control (including diabetics) had fewer stem cells circulating to repair damaged arteries. In other words, the whole, “you are what you eat” concept certainly applies on a cellular level as well. Here are a couple more articles which mention this diet / stem cell link:

Really what this amounts to is that most people would likely benefit from a low glycemic diet. blood sugar levels are central to any healthy diet or weight loss plan. Popular, easy to follow weight loss programs such as South Beach Diet, the Zone diet, and parts of Weight Watchers have proven results in this area.


If you’re considering starting a weight loss / blood sugar control program, consult your physician. If weight loss supplements are recommended, consider using a coupon for drugstore.com to heal your wallet!

Photo Credit: MightyDiets.com

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popular science stem cellsPopular Science Magazine Mentions Stem Cells in New Year Predictions – While not overly specific, the latest issue of Popular Science has the phrase, “Stem Cells for All” on its cover, and predicts that stem cells could sidestep controversy and make a real breakthrough in 2013.

The basis of this prediction is largely due to the earlier announcement that researchers had transformed skin cells into working neurons for the first time. This is significant, of course, because stem cells harvested from skin cells sidesteps the ethical / religious elephant in the room ever-present in embryonic stem cell discussions and funding.

Stem cells hold the promise of revolutionizing how doctors study diseases, how pharmacologists test drugs, and in turn bring about treatments tailored to individuals instead of the current “one size fits all” approach to most treatments.

You can read the Popular Science article here in their “2013 predictions.

Popular Science Magazine

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stem cell scientists Shinya Yamanaka and John B. Gurdon2012 Nobel Prize in Medicine Awarded – A pair of stem cell discoveries some 40 years apart have earned John B. Gurdon of the University of Cambridge & Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University the Nobel Prize in Medicine.

Their discoveries are central to the promise of regenerative medicine and offer hope that human organs can be repaired or replaced with one’s own cells.

Of course, the findings certainly raise ethical and religious questions about animal cloning and the ability of science to create life. read the article: Cloning and Stem Cell Discoveries Earn Nobel in Medicine – NYTimes

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Romney’s Position on Stem Cell Research: There is a lot of information online including a plethora of quotes in regards to Mitt Romney’s position on stem cell research. Complicating the issue for Mitt is the fact that his wife suffers from multiple sclerosis, a disease that may benefit from stem cell research.

His general position in 50 words or less is that he is “pro life,” believing that life begins immediately at conception. Because of that position, he is against the practice of abortion or stem cell research that involves the destruction of human embryos. He opposes government funding of such stem cell research, but has said that it is not unethical to use “excess” embryos from IVF clinics.

“I am in favor of stem cell research. I am not in favor of creating new human embryos through cloning.”
Quoted  5-01-2005, National Review Online

Essentially, he supports finding a “scientific solution” to stem cell research that does not involve the use of human embryos & the ethical dilemma that it presents. (including induced pluripotent stem cells & something called “altered nuclear transfer“)

Here are some good resources if you’d like to dig down more on Romney’s position on stem cell research:

“I believe stem cell research is important to our state, for our nation, and I also believe there should be ethical lines drawn on the appropriate type of research. Stem cell research is important, and I’ll support it, and I’m gonna continue to encourage ethical lines to people be drawn in a way that respects human life…” Quote 5-08-2005, Tempe, Arizona

Have you found any more recent quotes from 2012 from Mitt Romney on stem cell research? Please comment below.

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diabetes stem cell

type 1 diabetes & stem cells

Stem Cells and Type 1 Diabetes: I’ve been asked more than once if there was anything that stem cells could do to cure or help fight Type 1 diabetes. Actually, until recently there really wasn’t much progress in that area.

Recently, in an experimental study, 28 teens with type 1 diabetes underwent a stem cell procedure (using their own stem cells) hoping that it could allow them to stay off their insulin injections.

The results of this (small) study? Fifteen of the 28 teens were able to stay off of insulin injections for an average of a year and a half; one of these teens with type 1 diabetes has actually gone without insulin injections for three and a half years.

How does the stem cell treatment work to fight type 1 diabetes? Known as a “cocktail” treatment, stem cell therapy in this case is combined with drugs for a double barrel attack on type 1 diabetes. Because type 1 diabetes generally attacks the immune system, (pancreatic insulin producing cells) the drugs used in this procedure function to suppress the immune system so that the stem cell therapy component can be more affective.

The stem cells used are harvested from the patient prior to treatment, frozen, and then reintroduced during treatment. These “immature” stem cells haven’t learned bad behavior yet, and replace the destructive cells that previously were attacking the patients insulin producing cells.

Although researchers are in the early stages, this treatment shows a lot of promise for the treatment of type 1 diabetes in children.

The findings of this study (including side effect, diet, & weight info) were introduced to the American Diabetes Association, and will appear in July’s issue of the Diabetes Care journal.

Read more


Diabetic diet / weight loss information: Coupons for weight watchers and medifast can be found online

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