By Don C. Reed, Author, “STEM CELL BATTLES”, other books
We are all aware of the Senatorial candidate who recently suffered a stroke. When he says, “I believe I am going to be able to serve effectively”, I believe him. He appears to be coping with the injury. My vote, for or against him, would in no way be affected by his being one of the 800,000 Americans (including me) who have suffered a stroke—and recovered.
Dear Friend of Stem Cell Research:
For the next month, I will make available a (hopefully!) daily summary of one aspect of stem cell research—my layman’s understanding of it—done by scientists connected to the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). The first was spina bifida; the rest follow in no particular order.
Most of the science writing was done by Kevin McCormack, with friendly edits courtesy of Melissa King. Mistakes are my own.
In most cases I have left out the scientists’ names. A few I have written about in my books, and those I felt free to credit directly.
All I ask is that when you step into the voting booth, please consider which political party is likely to fund such research, and vote accordingly.
Remember in November!
#2 STROKE: Total Awards (18): Awards Value: $80,145,796
“Stroke is the number one cause of disability in our country today…”.”
In America alone, approximately “800,000 people will have a stroke this year… 140,000 will die of it…
“A stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks a vessel in the brain…cells begin to die within minutes… (1)
The loss of these brain cells can bring devastating effects including memory or language loss, and the control of bodily functions, including paralysis.
With a direct cost to America of $35 billion per year (not counting indirect costs like missed work which would raise the expense to an annual $103.5 billion) stroke is financially as well as physically damaging. (2)
CIRM (the California stem cell program) is attempting to use different types of stem cells—“neural stem cells, embryonic, and reprogrammed… to replace cells lost during a stroke….They also need to learn the best way of delivering those cells into the brain. Other researchers are seeing if it’s possible to activate the stem cells in the brain to repair the damage. There is even a special gel, a matrix (3) for stem cell growth and nerve repair.”
One researcher said, “we are now in a position to state how stem cells communicate with the brain to elicit recovery after a stroke injury….we intend to focus on the connections between neurons…a critical part of the rewiring process…
“By engineering the (human nerve stem) cells, we can identify (which) factors they secrete in the brain, and which ones modulate (nerve) connections to induce recovery after stroke…”
“…to induce recovery after stroke…” what beautiful words!