Stem cell edition.
- Eight Reasons to Applaud Action on Stem Cells from Center for American Progress, including:
Research on all other forms of stem cells will move forward. Opponents of human embryonic stem cell research often champion human adult stem cells, umbilical cord blood stem cells, and induced pluripotent stem cells as suitable alternatives to embryonic stem cells. Yet these approaches cannot be successful without research on human embryonic stem cells. The New York State Stem Cell Foundation reported in July 2008 that its chief scientific officer, Kevin Eggan, produced adult stem cell lines from patients with Lou Gehrig’s disease. Yet Eggan said he will still continue his work on human embryonic stem cell research because, "we couldn’t possibly be where we are now without first doing extensive work with human embryonic stem cells ... they remain the stem cell gold standard" against which all cells brought forth as alternatives must be measured.
- Here's an example of what it means:
A developmental biologist who studies the pancreas, Charles Murtaugh wants to know if embryonic stem cells can be coaxed into becoming insulin-producing clusters, potentially replacing those ravaged by Type I diabetes.
Now, the University of Utah researcher said, he's going to attempt to find out.
- From Science magazine, the important corrolary:
Obama Directive Called "Sea Change" for Scientific Integrity
President Barack Obama's directive today to his science adviser to "restore scientific integrity to government decision-making" is a culmination of a long campaign by science advocacy groups against the policies of the Bush Administration. None of them was more active than the Union of Concerned Scientists, which produced its first report on "the politicization of science" in 2004 and which helped make scientific integrity an issue during the 2008 presidential campaign.
- More from Science:
Obama's Stem Cell Decision Gets Standing Ovation From Scientists
WASHINGTON, D.C.—In the same chandeliered White House room where, 2 years ago, George W. Bush reaffirmed federal restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, President Barack Obama announced this morning that "we will lift the ban on federal funding for promising embryonic stem cell research [and] will vigorously support scientists who pursue this research." Scientists are elated by the decision—and the Executive Order that accompanied it—a reversal of a policy first laid down by Bush on 9 August 2001.
Do we think scientists are happy about this?
- Innovation in medicine looks like this:
A pilot program in Camden, N.J., has successfully reduced emergency department admissions and costs by targeting a small number of patients responsible for "racking up huge medical bills and straining already crowded" EDs, Kaiser Health News/Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Established by the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, the program first examined ED use citywide and identified frequent ED users. These "super users" typically have complex health problems and do not have the financial or emotional means to fill prescriptions or make doctor appointments, according to Kaiser Health News/Inquirer.
"Super users"? I thought they were referred to as "frequent fliers".
- And why you can't just "do", you have to "check" and measure (aka outcomes research):
Dangling a financial carrot in front of doctors as a way to improve health quality has changed the way some doctors practice medicine, but has yet to significantly improve quality and may be interfering with doctor-patient relationships, researchers said on Tuesday.
Pay-for-performance plans, in which doctors, hospitals and other providers receive more money if they meet certain goals, are seen as a way of boosting health quality.
Despite the rapid adoption of these programs, there is little research about how well they work or what types of strategies work best.
- Okay, back to reality.
Health Sector Has Donated Millions to Lawmakers
The biggest beneficiaries in the Senate included John McCain (R-Ariz.), with $546,000; Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), with $425,000; and Max Baucus (D-Mont.), with $413,000, who as head of the Finance Committee will play a leading role in the debate over health-care reform.
In the House, it's Cantor and Boehner leading the pack, and Democrats as well:
Rep. Earl Pomeroy (N.D.) received contributions from the insurance sector ($104,000), while Rep. John D. Dingell (Mich.) took in $180,000 from drug companies. as well.
I am simply shocked to find out there's gambling going on in this casino.
- See also: Stem Cells: The basics for kossacks.