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A cure is close, but action is required

With President Bush's recent veto concerning stem cell research funding, hope for finding quick cures to many devastating diseases has dimmed in this country. However, there is still a bright spot on the horizon for sufferers of juvenile diabetes.

Unlike type 2, or adult onset diabetes, juvenile diabetes is an autoimmune disease that only strikes children and young adults, and it can't be managed simply by changing eating and exercise habits. Also called "insulin-dependent" diabetes, the Type 1 version involves the complete shutdown of the pancreas, the body's natural insulin-producing organ. Without insulin, we can't process the food we eat. Blood sugars quickly climb to toxic levels while the body essentially starves.

Insulin injections provide life support to millions of Americans -- including my son -- but they aren't a cure. It's a daily game of "whack-a-mole" with life or death consequences, as sufferers alternately treat high and low blood sugar levels by administering insulin or carbohydrates. Over the long haul, diabetes takes its toll on the body, affecting the eyes, liver, heart, circulatory system, etc. It's not a pretty picture.

Luckily, through efforts of single-minded organizations like the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), the likelihood of finding a cure during my child's lifetime is extremely high. Several promising therapies are coming closer to fruition -- from a "closed-loop" artificial pancreas that senses insulin needs and dispenses the hormone without human interaction, to targeted transplants of insulin-producing islet cells without the need for dangerous anti-rejection drugs.

The House and Senate have caught the excitement from their constituents over the closeness of a cure. In a rare show of bipartisan support, Senators Dorgan (D-ND) and Domenici (R-NM) have introduced a bill to reauthorize the Special Diabetes Program. This past week, Representatives DeGette (D-CO) and Kildee (D-MI) introduced the House companion bill. These bills will extend the Special Diabetes Program for five years and increase funding from $150 million per year for type 1 diabetes research to $200 million per year.

Despite the tremendous support for the bill, JDRF is urging voters to contact their representatives this week to ask for their vote in favor of S.1494 in the Senate and H.R. 2762 in the House. To make it easy, JDRF has set up a Web page that will automatically e-mail your legislators and ask for their vote. It takes only a minute, and could help millions lead longer, healthier and happier lives.

To learn more about our family's efforts to help find a cure for juvenile diabetes, please visit www.AaronsAteam.com or watch the video.



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wealth redistribution not the answer
By dever on 6/29/2007 2:01:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
With President Bush's recent veto concerning stem cell research funding, hope for finding quick cures to many devastating diseases has dimmed in this country
This is one approach to a possible cure, and it happens to be very controversial. There are many in the country who sincerely believe that life starts in the womb prior to birth. Given that, there is no easy way to define the exact moment something becomes a "human life." With so many people who have moral objections to experimenting with human "life", "proto-life", "future-life", "potential-life", what ever you want to call it, I have a couple of questions:

How can you morally justify advocating the forceful seizure of individual earnings via government taxation, and spending it on what those individuals consider to be immoral?

The government is a huge and slow bureaucracy. They can't respond to all health threats for all people. Isn't it arrogant to assume that the needs and illnesses of everyone else's children are less important than yours? And that their taxes should fund research for your child's needs and not the needs of your children but not necessarily theirs?

Sorry if this sounds insensitive, but I sincerely wish the best for you and your child.

David




RE: wealth redistribution not the answer
By wrekd on 6/29/2007 2:54:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
How can you morally justify advocating the forceful seizure of individual earnings via government taxation, and spending it on what those individuals consider to be immoral?


How can you morally justify the clearing of forests for federally funded development?

How can you morally justify military spending when so many want peace?

How can you morally justify government spending on the regulation of certain electromagnetic frequency ranges?

By the way...dinosaurs and humans have never met.


RE: wealth redistribution not the answer
By Ringold on 6/29/2007 3:27:34 PM , Rating: 2
Clearing forests don't infringe upon the individual liberties of any human life.

Military spending is necessary and looking at the current influence of unilaterally-disarmed Canada and Europe, plus history going back to the agricultural revolution, those who skimp on such spending ultimately find themselves weak, marginalized, or destroyed.

Goverment oversight of certain radio frequencies helps merely with organisation and safety so that services dont overlap. The public does not, however, OWN the airwaves, making full government control (such as the Fairness Doctrine) constitutionally questionable. The government should merely provide oversight in most cases.

Nice shot from your liberal guns, but didn't at all address the OP's primary point, being that government funding for embryonic stem cells may possibly impede upon a living human beings liberties and therefore Uncle Sam shouldn't bankroll it.

Of course, as is typical of liberals both in blog posts and elsewhere, they forget to mention that it merely bans federal funds from being used in ethically questionable research. States are free to fund it, as are biotech firms, and as are foreign countries, essentially meaning almost no significant negative impact to research overall is coming by this ban. Other sources privately and around the world will pick up the slack.

Did do a good job of cherry picking the weakest single part of the post but no need for propaganda games here. I bet you'd be able to make great political commercials with sound-bites from opponents, though.


RE: wealth redistribution not the answer
By Ringold on 6/29/2007 3:40:39 PM , Rating: 2
Just to be clear, I take exception only to the introduction of the blog post and wrekd's response to the OP. My own mother and most of her family has diabetes and it's good to hear about the progress being made in the field. The blog just opened itself up to a whole nasty can of worms with its opening couple lines is all, which made it go from an article all could applaud to reducing it to something likely to stir the pot. I now suspect 10 or 20 back-and-forth posts between moderates, conservatives and liberals who want to blame everything down to beach erosion on the Bush administration and those who dare go to church on rare occasion or hold different opinions.


RE: wealth redistribution not the answer
By wrekd on 6/29/2007 5:43:19 PM , Rating: 2
Hold up a second...Liberal guns? I'm not trying to enforce policy or my ideals here.

All I was trying to say was, we don't get to pick and choose how our tax dollars are spent (directly spent that is, yes indirectly with democratic elections and yadda yadda). It would not be the first time I have been accused of making encrypted responses. I'm sorry if you failed to read my mind ;)

You do have to remember that the President VETOED funding. That alone must mean some people do not find it immoral.

Where do you draw the line on how many people need to think something is moral/immoral before you fund/deny funding? I believe the President’s veto had everything to do with religion. And I believe that making Government decisions based on religion is immoral.

Wait a second. My tax dollars pay the President's salary. [How can you morally justify advocating the forceful seizure of individual earnings via government taxation,] and spending it on an individual's salary when the decisions he makes...you get the idea.


By Ringold on 6/29/2007 6:35:55 PM , Rating: 2
There you go, second post was much better than the first. :)

I'll not disagree much except to say the system is working as intended (Presidential veto powers existing to check the power of Congress) as far as your second post goes and that I won't go much further than to take exception with the first couple lines of the blog, but your first post did clearly insinuate that people who don't hold your moral values essentially on abortion (as the issue is the same, embryo's or young lives being destroyed for one purpose or another) are deeply ignorant.. namely, that we all think our great grandfathers had pet dino's.

Additionally, our framers warned against precisely this type of moral hazard, that the will of the masses would, in democracy, ultimately find a way to trample upon the liberties of the minority. If the government followed the Bush model on stem cell research and abstained from much beyond keeping the food safe, keeping the drugs safe, and defending the shores and borders from our enemies, this type of moral hazard wouldn't be an issue because the federal government wouldn't be empowered to take any action that could possibly make it an issue.


RE: wealth redistribution not the answer
By Gondorff on 6/29/2007 3:41:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
By the way...dinosaurs and humans have never met.

WOW! What a brilliant response to his post! You _clearly_ showed him! I mean, how could a combination of stereotyping him and showing your own ignorance not shut him up? :-/

Actually, if you ever decide to crawl out of your little bubble, you might just realize that the belief that life starts at conception isn't just an evangelical doctrine, but actually makes a lot more sense scientifically and logically.
I challenge you to fully read through http://www.bioethics.gov/reports/cloningreport/app...

If you can fully read through and understand that article, and still disagree, well... at least I have respect for you for trying to understand the issue.

Good day sir.


RE: wealth redistribution not the answer
By Ringold on 6/29/2007 4:21:41 PM , Rating: 2
I'm only about 1/3 the way through it, have to break for some lunch, but a really good link. Thanks. I'll be saving that for future use.


By BladeVenom on 6/29/2007 10:29:10 PM , Rating: 2
If your interested in medical ethics start with the Hippocratic Oath, which was about 400 years before Christ. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippocratic_Oath


By dever on 7/2/2007 1:43:32 PM , Rating: 2
wrekd,

Interesting preconceptions you have. I did not try to morally justify any of those things.

I too have never met a dinosaur.


RE: wealth redistribution not the answer
By TomZ on 6/29/2007 11:03:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
How can you morally justify advocating the forceful seizure of individual earnings via government taxation, and spending it on what those individuals consider to be immoral?

David, there's no guarantee expressed or expected that every citizen in the nation will agree with the purpose for all tax dollars spent. This argument is completely bogus.

Government works more in terms of majority and notions like that, as you well know. I would be willing to bet that if you surveyed individual citizens, you would not find any who agree with 100% of government spending (or decisions more generally), with most citizens probably agreeing with 1/2 to 2/3 of such spending (or decisions).

Your argument may be theoretical, or maybe even philosophical, but it is not practical. Because of practicality, things must move forward, even if not 100% of the citizens agree.

You may not agree with human embryo stem cell research, but some percentage of U.S. citizens do. And to that extent, such research can and should move forward, as it does now just lacking certain federal funding.


RE: wealth redistribution not the answer
By dever on 7/2/2007 1:58:31 PM , Rating: 2
TomZ, As you state, there is no guarantee, which is why we see the slow erosion of personal liberty over time without those affected individuals taking a stand to reduce government intrusion.

You make very good arguments as to why government should do as little as possible and shows why there can emerge a "tyranny of the majority." For instance, the majority once thought slavery was beneficial, but we've found that individual liberties are more important. Perhaps, like many of our founders intended, we should strive to limit government to the protection of individual liberties from forceful infringement by other individuals or governments. Or, to take it a step further, to provide protections that are shown to be unattainable in the free market.

It sounds like you're stating that just because some percentage of citizens believe that cost-benefit ratio of embryo research is acceptable, that we should all be forced to reduce our earnings to fund it. This is in exact contradiction to the first part of your post.


RE: wealth redistribution not the answer
By brandonmichael on 7/2/2007 6:38:28 PM , Rating: 2
Its funny how the both liberals and conservatives like to claim that ending slavery was the pinnacle accomplishment of their ideology...
You realize that the "personal liberty" argument was used by the slave owners back then? They felt they had the right to own slaves and that the government had no place telling them what they could or could not do. I hear that very same rhetoric espoused by conservatives on this website every day (not about owning slaves)... well if the government had not intervened, had not "infringed" on the slave owners "personal liberties", where would we be? The event is significant because the majority had their civil liberties policed, so that the minority could enjoy civil liberties. Sometimes, that has to happen, one person, one party has to lose a freedom so the others can gain some essentials. I just think it is important that we understand that...

If stem cell research is a moral issue, it is only because politicizing scientific research with tremendous yields to further a religious agenda is completely amoral.
We will be taxed regardless. Democrat, republican, they will all take their bite, if I'm going to pay either way, I want my money going to further the science that will save lives. Simple.


RE: wealth redistribution not the answer
By therealnickdanger on 7/3/2007 11:45:52 AM , Rating: 2
I also want my tax dollars going to further science that will saves lives - without taking lives first. Simple.


RE: wealth redistribution not the answer
By brandonmichael on 7/3/2007 1:57:47 PM , Rating: 2
The definition of "life" aside, will those frozen blastocysts ever be grown into a fetus? If we leave them alone, they eventually deteriorate or are destroyed... These are discarded in vitro excess. They will never sit next to you in home room, they will never cook your breakfast, you will never see them running for office... Delaying research by denying dollars is the only way lives are lost. These blastocysts never had a real chance and never will have one. Why not protest in-vitro fertilization instead?


RE: wealth redistribution not the answer
By brandonmichael on 7/3/2007 2:01:43 PM , Rating: 2
And I think it is funny when people sing the praises of preserving life and then berate the "environmentalists" when they work to save endangered species. Is human life the only kind worth protecting?


By dever on 7/10/2007 3:50:26 PM , Rating: 2
The reverse argument is much more poignant.


By TomZ on 7/4/2007 10:17:06 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I also want my tax dollars going to further science that will saves lives - without taking lives first. Simple.

Simple for you, since you choose to ignore the tradeoffs and consequences of the decision. Even if you take the extreme view that an embryo created in a lab and existing in a cryo chamber is human life, you are ignoring the greater good that can come from helping to find cures for diseases that cause millions to suffer and die.

You are effectively arguing on a moral principle that the death of an embryo is more significant than the death of a child or adult. That makes no sense at all. And you feel justified in believing that because you hope that solutions will be found through other methods of research. Although that is possible, the practioners working to find cures clearly believe that stem cell research is the fastest path to success. The fastest path to success is the one that can save the most lives.

Luckily not everyone agrees with your flawed value system, and so the research continues.


RE: wealth redistribution not the answer
By TomZ on 6/29/2007 11:10:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The government is a huge and slow bureaucracy. They can't respond to all health threats for all people. Isn't it arrogant to assume that the needs and illnesses of everyone else's children are less important than yours? And that their taxes should fund research for your child's needs and not the needs of your children but not necessarily theirs?

Sorry, I should have answered this in my above post. No, I don't think it is arrogant, etc. I don't think he's saying that research for this form of diabetes is more important that research for other diseases or that it should consume all the available resources. He's just saying that it is something that is important to him, and therefore, he is an advocate for trying to draw attention and funding towards finding a possible cure. This seems elementary to me, what is the issue you see with his advocacy?

On a more personal note, are you a father? I personally cannot even bear the thought of one of my children suffering with a disease like diabetes. You can be damn sure that if I were in Steve's position, I would feel and react in a similar way to how he has.


By dever on 7/2/2007 2:22:27 PM , Rating: 2
TomZ,

I do have a child, and that is exactly my point. My point is that every dollar uncle Sam takes away from me is money I cannot use to benefit my child. (My family and I are self-insured with a significant deductable, so I feel a good chunk of every medical cost.)

Realize that even if the government were to confiscate every dollar of your income, there would still not be enough money to fund all of the potential research for various diseases and medical conditions. Because there is a limited amount of money, every dollar you spend on one disease is a dollar not spent researching some other disease. So, cost-benefit analysis is absolutely essential, and emotion must be put aside.

What if my child came down with some medical condition that is *not* being financed by our tax dollars? You've now implicitly stated that my child's problem is less important. And every other person who has a child who's problem is less well funded is now at a disadvantage.

How are they at a disadvantage, you ask? Because every dollar taken away from them, and thier family members and friends, and friends of their child through taxation, is a dollar that they now cannot use to research their own child's problem. That money is now unavailable because it has been confiscated by government and sold to the best medical lobbyist or the currently most glamourous medical research.

Yes, there will probably be *some* small correlation between the need and the alotment with government funding. But that correlation is almost random compared to the near exact correlation that would occur if these were left up to a free market.


RE: wealth redistribution not the answer
By rbuszka on 7/2/2007 10:07:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
With President Bush's recent veto concerning stem cell research funding, hope for finding quick cures to many devastating diseases has dimmed in this country


Another problem I see in this statement is that no distinction is made between embryonic stem cells and those produced from adult cells. With stem cells produced from adult cells (by simply removing the blocking agent that 'covers up' the portion of the genetic material unrelated to the cell's specialized function), there is no moral dilemma. Now, I imagine this could have been simply an honest mistake made by a publication not well-qualified enough to discuss the subject, but other people less understanding than I am might take it as a deliberate attempt to obfuscate the true nature of the debate in this country -- either to pursue the development of cures using adult stem cells...or to destroy embryos 'just because we can, and those crazy Christians don't want us to'. So DT, do your homework next time you want to write about a subject that's outside the normal scope of your publication.


By TomZ on 7/4/2007 12:49:10 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Another problem I see in this statement is that no distinction is made between embryonic stem cells and those produced from adult cells.

The argument about embryonic and adult stem cells is just a red herring. Clearly embryonic stem cells, while not the only path of research, is clearly an important and powerful tool, and there is no question that the freeze on federal funds (which the next president will almost certainly lift) does slow research. Notice I said "slow" and not "stop." I recognize that other forms of research continue, as do non-federally-funded embryonic stem cell research. This has been pretty clearly discussed even in mainsteam media.
quote:
destroy embryos 'just because we can, and those crazy Christians don't want us to'

Now that's just stupid. I don't hear anyone trying to communicate that message. The purpose of destroying embryos is to further research, not for the fun of it. Sheesh.


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