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 Vol. 5, No. 12 

December 2003

Guest Editorial

~ Page 3 ~

Modern Medical Mayhem

By Brad Harrub

Image It was one of the most gut wrenching things I have ever had to witness. During my undergraduate years, I worked part-time at a facility that cared for Alzheimer's disease patients. Day after day, I would watch family members come to care for their loved ones. And day after day, they would leave in tears having not been recognized by their own spouses or children. Ailments of dementia such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's tear at the very roots of many families across this nation.

As such, millions of research dollars have been spent looking for a cure. In fact, one can barely watch the evening news without hearing about the latest scientific discovery. Without fail, most of these research reports discuss the "potential" benefits of fetal tissue or embryonic stem cells. The media has inundated us with the idea that unless we use tissue from aborted babies or embryos, we will never be able to conquer these dreaded diseases. But is this the truth? Do aborted fetuses and leftovers from in vitro fertilization offer a cure?

The truth is, we have been fed a lie that the media continues to use to justify the 1.2 million infants killed by abortion each year (see and the 400,000 embryos that have been plunged into the icy depths of liquid nitrogen (see We are continually told about the "potential" benefits of these embryonic tissues. But science has shown otherwise, not once, but twice!

In a telling article titled "Strike Two for Transplants," Gretchen Vogel lamented: "For the second time, cells transplanted from fetuses into brains of Parkinson's patients have failed to show a significant effect." She went on to note that the double-blind study "failed to produce significant improvements in patients' movement but caused serious side effects in more than half the patients" (2003). Not only did the aborted fetus tissue not help, it actually hurt in some cases!

C. Warren Olanow and his colleagues conducted the collaborative study, which consisted of thirty-four patients, in an effort to determine the effects of transplanting fetal nigral neurons (nerve cells) into Parkinson's patients. Parkinson's patients, ranging in age from 30 to 75, received tissue transplants that were obtained from one to four aborted fetuses. Thus, in twelve cases, the tissue from four aborted fetuses was required to try and "cure" one Parkinson patient. I wonder if Mr. Kinsley would condone four human beings killed in an effort to save one -- himself?

All told, 59 aborted fetuses were used in this study. So, what was the end result after using nigral cells from 59 aborted babies? The authors observed, "there was no overall treatment effect" (2003, 54:405). They went on to conclude, "Furthermore, unanticipated and potentially disabling off-medication dyskinesias [difficulty moving BH] developed in greater than 50% of patients. We cannot therefore recommend fetal nigral transplantation as a therapy for PD [Parkinson's disease BH], at this time" (p. 413).

As Ms. Vogel noted, however, this was not the first time this type of procedure has failed. She wrote: "The first major study of the technique, led by Curt Freed of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, ended in controversy when it failed to help patients overall and left some with frightening uncontrollable movements" (as reported in Science, March 16, 2001, p. 2060) [Vogel, 2003].

So, we now have multiple clinical trials that conclusively show no effect (and even detrimental effects in some cases) of having used the fetal tissue. So why, then, is this not front-page news? Why haven't Time magazine and CNN made this a lead story? The sad fact is that the media are not interested in anything that will call Roe v. Wade into question. Our country upholds and parades any scientific "breakthrough" that might be of "potential" benefit to patients with Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease. Yet, when these "potential breakthroughs" are shown to be "potential killers," nothing is said, and the scientific data are ignored.

Thus, the confetti from the parade is swept under the rug, and the only thing the American people can remember is what a grand parade it was. How much longer will we stay in the dark?Image

Works Cited

Kinsley, Michael (2003), "Cure Me If You Can," Readers Digest, pp. 102-107, August.

Olanow, C. Warren, Christopher Goetz, et al., (2003), "A Double-blind Controlled Trial of Bilateral Fetal Nigral Transplantation in Parkinson's Disease," Annals of Neurology, 54[3]403-414, September.

Vogel, Gretchen (2003), "Strike Two for Transplants," Science Now, [On-line], URL:

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