It’s not often that I get to quote My Girl, Whitney Houston, but today I’m blessed.
I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.
Never before have so truer word been spoken, especially today. But you know what? Where it’s important, we’re not leading the way. Stem cell research, which should be the most heavily invested R & D department of every medical, pharmaceutical, health care and biotech in America. Unfortunately, we’ve got a flock of shegulls on Capitol Hill that are mollifying less than a third of the polling public. This poll data has quite a few polls over the past few years on stem cell opinions (just scroll down about a third of the way).
I wish that were all. Not only do a solid majority of Americans support ALL types of stem cell research, including embryonic stem cell research. Embryonic stem cells givedoctors the potential to create the highest quality pluripotent cells. For those that don’t know too much about the stem cell debate, think of pluripotent cells as bags of fresh cement to a contractor….they can be turned into anything! With the current federal ban on stem cells line besides the 64 that were in circulation we’re left in quite a predicament. Just like any other organic material, even stem cells degrade over time, hence why we need new lines of stem cells.
The real tragedy here is all the potential going to waste. Yes, I used the word tragedy. Say a couple goes in to a gynecologist to have some eggs frozen, in case anything happens in the future. Unless they live in a state with a permissive policy towards stem cell research (basically, California, Wisconsin and New Jersey), those extra eggs are merely medical waste. Not to sound coarse, but those eggs could be placentalicious gold mines of medical research. In America, in 2007? Not a chance. Medical waste.
When you take a step back, tho, it gets worse. Considering Israeli authors wrote almost three times as many articles per capita than American authors from 2000-04, we’re not doing nearly enough on the research end. Hell, if we picked up our articles per million citizens to Swiss levels, that would be a 62% increase in articles published. More information and knowledge is never a bad thing. That is, unless you’re living in 21st century America. Sad that things have come to this, where all people can do about the most important technological breakthrough since gunpowder was fashioned into bullets, is complain about how individual states need to pick up the research burden themselves.
That the federal government is doing nothing to combat the strident beliefs of the hard right is nearly scandalous. Too bad real scandal these days is Lindsay Lohan flashing beaver. Part of me hopes people will actually start talking about this, hopefully getting their states to pick up the slack where the feds are, quite frankly, shitting the bed. But deep down, I know people don’t care enough to pick up the debate. My god, I could ask 5 of my friends who Mitt Romney is, and 4 wouldn’t know. 21st century America, what a place.