How’s this for ironic? The Pentagon has given a $240,000 grant to a team of Swedish scientists who are working with stem-cells in an attempt to develop an effective treatment for Parkinson’s disease. The very sort of research that President Bush banned here in the United States back on August 9th, 2001.
In a statement, Lund University in southern Sweden said the U.S. Department of Defense was supporting the Swedish Parkinson’s study because the findings could be used to treat similar neurological illnesses caused by battlefield toxins.
The Swedish research, using human embryonic stem cells, will focus on ways to prompt the cells to develop into the type of nerve cells deficient in the brains of patients with Parkinson’s. The disease causes tremors, muscle rigidity and slow movement in its sufferers and is currently incurable.
“The goal is to develop a line of human embryonic stem cells which can be transplanted to test animals with a disease resembling Parkinson’s,” said Patrik Brundin, the research team leader.
President Bush has forbidden the use of federal funds to manipulate or create human embryos for research and limited scientific research to a few existing batches of cells taken from fertility clinic leftovers.
Opponents, including Bush, say any use of a human embryo amounts to murder and is unethical. Critics are pushing for legislation in the United States that would outlaw the practice completely.
Words fail me. All I can do is sit here and shake my head and laugh at the ridiculousness of it all.
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