Letter: Bachmann against stem cell researchI am delighted that Rep. Michele Bachmann is "committed to fighting juvenile diabetes," (Viewpoint, Jan. 23.)
I am delighted that Rep. Michele Bachmann is "committed to fighting juvenile diabetes," (Viewpoint, Jan. 23.)
Type I Diabetes, also known as IDDM (insulin dependent diabetes mellitus) in which the insulin producing cells of the pancreas are destroyed, currently afflicts approximately 700,000 Americans, putting them at risk for blindness, hypertension, increased incidence of infection, peripheral and autonomic neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease, with the concomitant risk of amputation, early onset coronary artery disease, complications of pregnancy including higher incidence of miscarriage, as well as progressive renal failure.
In short, IDDM involves much more than the unpleasantness of frequent finger sticks and injections and dietary restrictions, it is a major cause of morbidity and mortality among all age groups.
Bachmann calls for diabetes research similar to the intensive research that produced the polio vaccine.
Unfortunately, diabetes, unlike polio, is not caused by a specific infectious agent, so the analogy is flawed.
Type I diabetes is a progressive, chronic disease of unknown etiology, like multiple sclerosis and ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) which requires a far different approach to finding a cure.
Fortunately, though there is no cure for IDDM at this time, there is hope. According to the American Diabetes Association, stem cell research, including Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT) holds the greatest promise for both better treatments and a cure for IDDM.
The embryos used in stem cell research, as well as in In Vitro Fertilization, are three to five days past conception and consist of a few dozen cells that, together, are too small to be seen without the aid of a microscope.
Unlike the children diagnosed with diabetes, they have no consciousness, no self-awareness, no ability to feel love or pain. They are routinely produced by the thousands in fertility clinics and either destroyed or frozen indefinitely. And, they offer the possibility of cures for a whole host of diseases, including ALS, multiple sclerosis, parkinsons and diabetes.
Unfortunately, Rep. Bachmann opposes stem cell research.