Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Coulter's Adult Stem Cells

From a press release issued by the Genetics Policy Institute called Adult Stem Cell Talking-Point Demolished:

On July 13, three stem cell experts published a letter in the journal "Science", along with detailed supporting data, that has demolished the lynchpin argument and key talking point of the religious right and others who oppose the expansion of funding for embryonic stem cell research.

Dr. David Prentice of the Family Research Council had long- promoted a list of 65 medical conditions supposedly treated by adult stem cells, thereby sending the message that adult stem cells were currently delivering treatments and thus there was no need to fund embryonic stem cell research.

The letter to "Science" stated in its concluding paragraph "By promoting the falsehood that adult stem cell treatments are already in general use for 65 diseases and injuries, Prentice and those who repeat his claims mislead laypeople and cruelly deceive patients."

"Only nine of the so-called treatments were actually approved by the FDA. In fact, much of the Prentice list was comprised of anecdotal data drawn from such sources as testimony from Congressional hearings, distortions of published research reports and even a newspaper clipping," said Bernard Siegel, executive director of the Genetics Policy Institute.

Siegel said, "The misleading treatment list has been the most cherished tool of the opponents of embryonic stem cell research and the list was often cited by prominent research foes such as Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas and most recently by Ann Coulter, in her book where she expanded the list to 80."

I believe that the press release is in error. In Godless, from what I've read, Coulter only listed 16 examples, but last month she gave an interview to Cybercast News Service about her book where she did say 80:

Cybercast News Service: Please compare the success between adult stem-cell research and research using embryonic stem cells. What does this show about liberals' attitude toward science?

Ann Coulter: The difference in their success is roughly equivalent to the difference in success between the computer and the flushless toilet. Adult stem cells have been used to treat more than 80 diseases. Embryonic stem cells have cured nothing -- they have never, ever been tried in one human clinical trial. The embryonic stem cell debate is a fraud to lure Americans into ceding ground on human experimentation.

The Washington Post had an article on the letter published in the Science journal the other day. None of the treatments cited in the Coulter list (or I should say Illinois Right to Life Committee list) are "demolished" in the Post article, but the three researchers claim that there "are only nine diseases that have been proved to respond to treatment with adult stem cells."

Coulter's list wasn't only diseases, however, so it's still possible that none of the items she re-used are bogus.

Double however, there is at least one item on Coulter's list that may be "demolished" in this pdf link of research accompanying the Science journal letter.

More to come on this...

Nothing to do with Coulter but here's a link to an article I wrote for Raw Story the other day with the incredibly long title "Time: 'Steamy spy scandal' at State Dept. as Nat'l Intel czar Negroponte operation is linked to Taiwanese spying case."


A "steamy spy scandal" at the State Department is brewing as Time Magazine links an operation by US Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte to the case involving Taiwanese agent Isabelle Cheng and Donald W. Keyser, former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.


The latest filing indicates that prosecutors intend to charge Keyser for "espionage-related" offenses, and also raises questions about his spouse.

"The new filing could also raise awkward questions for Director of National Intelligence (DNI) John Negroponte because Keyser’s wife Margaret Lyons is a senior cia official on loan in a sensitive post helping set up a new open-source unit of dni," write Timothy J. Burger and Adam Zagorin for Time Magazine.

Time did some excellent reporting on this (and the New York Sun, also, on the filing), but since it's such a confusing story I thought that a little more background would be helpful.

Information on Cheng seems to be very scarce. I wasn't able to find anything on the circumstances which led to her cooperating with the federal prosecutors, and there hasn't even been a whole lot of reporting on this case at all, it seems. But maybe it will get juicier.

Also, other non-Coulter stuff I did the last few days: Russert to Novak: Everyone fought subpoenas, why didn't you? and News turns 'old' after 36 hours on the Web.


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