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The Case for Stem Cell Research

On Thursday, Sept. 9, a U.S. court of appeals overturned a federal judge’s ban on government funding of embryonic stem cell research at the National Institutes of Health.

Embryonic stem cells could be used to cure Parkinson’s disease, injuries to the spinal cord, and other genetic defects. However, research involves the destroying the embryo (fertilized egg), which would develop into a fetus in about eight weeks and be born in nine months if it were implanted into a woman’s uterus, making this funding controversial.

According to Michael Kinsley of Time Magazine, fertility clinics destroy or freeze more embryos than will ever be used in stem cell research, so the controversy is groundless. While adult stem cells have been proposed as an alternative to embryonic stem cells, they are much harder to isolate, divide more slowly, are less plastic, are prone to DNA abnormalities, and have not been shown to treat heart damage in mice.

When a woman takes the “morning after” pill after sex, she hopes to destroy any fertilized egg in her Fallopian tubes before it implants in the uterine wall, which may take over 24 hours. This destruction of potential human life is deliberate and purposeless, yet perfectly legal and uncontroversial. At least stem cell research tries to benefit humanity instead of merely reducing our numbers.

Sources:
Bloomberg: Embryonic Stem Cell Funds Resume by U.S. After Ruling
Time: The False Controversy of Stem Cells

This is an essay I wrote for my college-credit course Basic Anatomy & Physiology for Health Careers (BSC1080).

Photo: Purple Berries

Photo: Purple Berries

Macro of purple berries covered in pollen. These are probably poisonous.

Fujifilm FinePix A360, 1/30, F2.8, 5.8mm, ISO100, 2005-10-25T12:34:38-04, 2005-10-25_12h34m38

Location: 1985 S. Carpenter Ave., Orange City, FL  32763-7334

Download the high-res JPEG or download the source image.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Please credit me as “Photo by Richard Thripp” or something similar.

Photo: Reflection

Photo: Reflection

One of those blue globes that used to be popular in 2005. There is a fence near it which wraps all the way around in the reflection.

Fujifilm FinePix A360, 1/30, F2.8, 5.8mm, ISO80, 2005-10-24T18:17:41-04, 2005-10-24_18h17m41

Location: 1985 S. Carpenter Ave., Orange City, FL  32763-7334

Download the high-res JPEG or download the source image.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Please credit me as “Photo by Richard Thripp” or something similar.

Photo: Pumpkins

Photo: Pumpkins

Pumpkins for sale at Walmart before Halloween.

Fujifilm FinePix A360, 1/30, F2.8, 5.8mm, ISO100, 2005-10-24T14:13:54-04, 2005-10-24_14h13m54

Download the high-res JPEG or download the source image.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Please credit me as “Photo by Richard Thripp” or something similar.

An Aspirin a Day Debunked

Aspirin is in fact very dangerous and millions of people take it everyday to reduce the chance of heart attack, when in fact they are also increasing the chance of a fatal hemorrhagic stroke. Aspirin interferes with your body’s ability to prevent bleeding by clumping platelets together at the site of the wound (clotting). This clotting action is the cause of heart attack if your arteries are clogged by fatty deposits, and also stroke if clotting blocks blood flow to the brain. However, thinning the blood makes hemorrhagic stroke and gastrointestinal bleeding worse, and can cause allergic reactions and hearing loss in some cases. When combined with ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.), aspirin’s effectiveness is reduced, and when combined anti-coagulants (Coumadin, generic: warfarin), it is very dangerous.

According to the Mayo Clinic, you should only consider taking a baby aspirin daily if you’ve had a heart attack or clot-related stroke, or you are at high risk of either. Risk factors are high blood pressure, bad cholesterol levels, smoking, heavy drinking, diabetes, stress, obesity, inactivity, and family history. Aspirin should not be taken if you have asthma, hemophilia, stomach ulcers, or heart failure. Aspirin is more dangerous in diabetics, so the American Diabetes Association recommends low-dose aspirin only to men over 50 and women over 60 who have at least one risk factor for heart disease. Aspirin should not be taken during pregnancy. Stopping an aspirin regimen abruptly is dangerous. Your risk of heart attack or stroke may become even greater than it was before you started taking aspirin.

Aspirin results from the unnatural mixing of salicylic acid with sodium and acetyl chloride. It was first patented, named, and marketed by Bayer in the 1890s. Along with heroin, also developed by Felix Hoffman, aspirin was the literally started the pharmaceutical industry. Aspirin initially sold poorly as it was thought to be more dangerous than heroin, but aspirin took off when heroin was found to be highly addictive.

I am 19 and have not been to a doctor in years. I have no known heart problems and I do not take aspirin, though I am about 30 pounds overweight. My father is 50 and takes half an aspirin every couple days. He has not had a heart attack or stroke and has also not been examined by a doctor in many years. I would prefer the adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” to “an aspirin a day keeps the doctor away.” Where the benefit of eating fruits and vegetables is obvious, the benefit of taking vitamins to compensate for a lousy diet is evident, but merely a band-aid. The benefit of taking a synthesized, dangerous drug as a preventative, not even attacking an actual condition, is ludicrous, in this student’s opinion.

Links:
http://www.wisegeek.com/how-was-aspirin-invented.htm
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/daily-aspirin-therapy/HB00073
http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/tc/low-dose-aspirin-therapy-topic-overview
http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/should-everyone-take-an-aspirin-a-day
http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Heart_Letter/2009/June/New-guidelines-refine-aspirin-prescription

This is an essay I wrote for my college-credit course Personal Health and Wellness (PET2084).

Photo: Fireworks Flower

Photo: Fireworks Flower

A flower that looks like fireworks. I don’t know if this is pretty or terrifying. Reminds me of a hoard of fire ants… eww…

Fujifilm FinePix A360, 1/30, F2.8, 5.8mm, ISO100, 2005-10-23T18:31:44-04, 2005-10-23_18h31m44

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Please credit me as “Photo by Richard Thripp” or something similar.

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