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Stem Cell Research Paper.

2365 words - 9 pages

Stem cell research is a controversial topic that has become a heated national debate. Researchers have found that embryonic stem cells can divide and regenerate. These embryonic stem cells can grow into many types of cells and tissues. Scientists believe that embryonic stem cells can have a positive impact in finding a cure for a wide range of diseases including Parkinson's disease, while conservative groups have compared the use of embryonic stem cells to abortion. This has prompted the government to limit federal funding for embryonic stem cell research to only a few pre-existing cell lines (Rosenwald). Amid all controversy surrounding stem cells and their research, patients with Parkinson's disease and their families are losing valuable time in their search for a cure."Parkinson's disease is a progressive, neurologic disorder caused by a degeneration of dopamine neurons." (Hauser 11). Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that is involved in helping to control motor skills in the human body. When dopamine levels in the brain are reduced by 60 to 80% the symptoms of Parkinson's disease appear (Hauser 11). Every patient will experience symptoms to a varying degree depending on their individual case.David Cram M.D. lists the major symptoms of Parkinson's disease as:-Tremors which affect the hands, arms, legs, face and jaw-Stiffness that causes the trunk to remain tense-Bradykinesia which is slowness of movement and sudden loss of control-Impaired coordination that causes frequent fallsOther minor symptoms may include but are not limited to:- Depression-Slurred speech-Problems swallowing-Emotional changes (Cram 5-6).The prognosis for Parkinson's patients varies with each patient. The average patient for the first 4-6 years of treatment will respond well to medications. At the 5-10 year period problems related to their medications tend to appear. After 10 years most patients will experience poor balance and impaired coordination (Hauser 16). Hauser writes that Parkinson's disease is categorized in stages numbered one through five. Stage one refers to patients that are in the beginning stages of the disease and are the least affected. Stage five is used to refer to patients in the advanced stages of Parkinson's and are the most severely affected. Stage One patients usually experience symptoms unilaterally; this indicates that the symptoms affect only one side of the body. Stage Two patients start to experience symptoms bilaterally, thus affecting both sides of the body. Stage Three patients develop balance problems and may fall easily. Stage Four patients are unable to live alone any longer for their own safety. And finally Stage Five patients are wheelchair bound and need help getting out of bed. Approximately 37-42% of patients reach stages 4 and 5 within 10-15 years of their diagnosis (Hauser 32).Currently there is no cure for Parkinson's disease, however medicines, surgery, and deep brain stimulation can relieve the debilitating symptoms of...

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