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That Doesn’t Compute

Posted By Alan Partis on January 31, 2009

Study: Stem Cells Reverse Paralysis in Rats

The above press release from Live Science fails the logic test.  The conclusion trumpeted at the end of the article is not supported by the evidence provided.  Here are the relevant portions:

Transplanted adult stem cells have been found to reverse paralysis associated with spinal cord injuries in lab rats, a new study finds.

The study was headed up by Miodrag Stojkovic, deputy director and head of the Cellular Reprogramming Laboratory at Centro de Investigacion Principe Felipe in Spain.  According to his study:

The rats recovered significant motor activity one week after injury

The article makes very clear what kind of stem cells were used in the first paragraph, and even reiterates the point in the middle:

The rat study involved adult stem cells, which are found in adult tissues.  It is the other type of stem cells, embryonic stem cells, that some activists find objectionable, partly because these cells are derived from embryos through a process that currently destroys them.

However, the article then includes the following statement from the study’s author:

“The human body contains the tools to repair damaged spinal cords. Our work clearly demonstrates that we need both adult and embryonic stem cells to understand our body and apply this knowledge in regenerative medicine,” Stojkovic said.

Excuse me?  Nothing in the study, at insofar as presented in this article, supports such an illogical conclusion.

Penalty: 2 minutes in the sin bin and loss of credibility.


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