An Oakeshottian take on George W. Bush’s political style. See my new TRB opposite.
CORRECTION: Several readers have pointed out to me that the study forwarded to me by another reader (see “EMBRYO STEM CELLS AND PARKINSON’S” below) isn’t quite as I presented it. It’s about the implantation of neurons from fetal tissue – not from embryonic stem cells – into adults with Parkinson’s. Closely related but not identical. And it was indeed reported by the New York Times on March 8. My apologies. Nevertheless, it seems to me its impact on the debate should be stronger than it has been. The experiment was a disaster. The Times reported that “Dr Paul E. Greene, a neurologist at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and a researcher in the study, said the uncontrollable movements some patients suffered were ‘absolutely devastating … They chew constantly, their fingers go up and down, their wrists flex and distend.’ And the patients writhe and twist, jerk their heads, fling their arms about. ‘It was tragic, catastrophic,’ he said. ‘It’s a real nightmare. And we can’t selectively turn it off.'” Despite this, an AP report today says the following: “Freed and Dr. Evan Y. Snyder of Harvard Medical School led a team of researchers who developed a way to treat Parkinson’s disease in adults by injecting into their brains fetal neural cells that make dopamine, a brain chemical that is deficit in Parkinson’s. Although the researchers used stem cells from an aborted fetus, Freed said further research may show that repairing the brain could best be done using neural stem cells that are grown from embryonic stem cells.” Aren’t some important facts missing here? And yes, my own opposition to such research does not hinge on its effectiveness or otherwise. But I don’t see why this data shouldn’t be as much a part of this debate as, say, a failed test should be part of the debate about missile defense.
LINKS: Some of you regularly tell me that some links to articles aren’t working. Alas, this is because of AOL’s lazy-ass policy of caching sites only twice a day, which means that if you’re using AOL, you are always getting a slightly delayed site, and the links are a few hours behind the content. There’s nothing we can do about this. But you can. Avoid this problem by using a non-AOL browser.