Month Archives: May 2010

Adult Stem Cells Deep in the Heart of Texas

by David Prentice

May 7, 2010

The Texas Heart Institute has received a grant of $1.5 million from NIH for studies on using adult stem cells in combination with heart-assist devices in cases of heart failure. The idea is to use assist devices to rest the heart, while using adult stem cells to stimulate repair of damaged tissue.

The group has been one of the leaders in the U.S. in the field of treating heart damage with adult stem cells, including participating in a recently-published trial by ten institutions. Adult stem cells are both successful and ethical in patient treatments, and cells from the patient’s own body avoid the risk of transplant rejection.

The Texas group had already found that adult stem cells derived from a patients own bone marrow can be transplanted into a damaged heart, where they stimulate the development of new heart muscle and blood vessels, repairing heart damage. A new publication by the team has helped illuminate how the adult stem cells work in the heart. In a study published in Circulation Research, they show that a specific type of human adult stem cells, known as CD34+, when injected into the damaged hearts of mice, improves heart functions by stimulating formation of new blood vessels and/or by providing beneficial chemical signals within the heart. They also found that the adult stem cells can survive in the hearts of the mice for up to a year. The study is an important step in understanding how adult stem cells repair damaged hearts, as well as other tissues.

A Salute to Moms, Young or Older

by Sherry Crater

May 7, 2010

It comes as no surprise that women are marrying at an older age and, frequently, bearing children later in life also. The Pew Research Center has recently released a study confirming these facts. In 2008, one in seven babies in the United States was born to a mother older than 35 years of age. By contrast, the teenage birthrate has been declining since 1990 except for a couple of spikes, and births to women younger than 20 declined in 2008 to one in ten babies.

These statistics reflect significant changes in society, as women often choose to delay marriage and childbearing while they pursue education and get established in a career. However womens goals may have changed, the perception of children seems to have remained positive. When asked why they decided to have their first child, 87 percent of the parents in the Pew study said, The joy of children.

As I reflect on my own mother, I want to salute all women who have risen to the challenge of motherhood and accepted the responsibilities of this high calling. I wouldnt place mothering in the glamorous job category, but how do we place a value on a mothers invaluable contributions? Mothers, of course, are the bearers of life itself. Beyond that indispensable role, they are often the emotional glue that holds the members of a family together. When a marriage dissolves and the family is torn apart, it is most often the mother who stays with the children and raises them to adulthood.

A former national leader once stated, The family is a sacred institution entrusted with the worlds most important work. Society is only as strong as the families who live within it. Thank you, moms, for all you have done and are doing to strengthen our families and our nation.

Boots on Necks and the Obama Administration

by Chris Gacek

May 6, 2010

The ongoing, disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is instructive in many ways. For those interested in energy production, it seems to signal that the shift from shallow-water oil drilling may not be as manageable as has been thought. This is important because the United States seems to be making it impossible to extract fuel from Americas vast land resources while shoving its production into far more environmentally dangerous locations.

If it is clear that British Petroleum and Transocean were not prepared for a calamity of this type, it is also clear that the federal government was completely unprepared for it. BP and Transocean dont have naval or coast guard fleets. Maybe some of that utterly wasted stimulus money could have been spent on purchasing the equipment needed need to contain a 50-year oil spill. Unfortunately, that is not how government operates.

I am amazed to read about the technology involved in the drilling. The wells ground surface is 5,000 below sea level about a mile. And the drill shaft, as I understand it, was at least two miles further down. I have heard pressures being talked about of 30-40,000 pounds per square inch. Today a submersible robot went to sea bed and stopped one of the three leaks by installing a valve and a broken pipe. Astonishing. Astonishing that we could actually expect this to work reliably, but that is the genius of capitalism. Such things do work reliably.

Whatever the causes of the disaster it seems inconceivable to me that the companies involved are not doing everything humanly possible to stop the flow of oil. They would be doing so just to minimize financial losses, but I am sure that the pride of an industry is at stake here as well. Just plain decency is at stake. Over ten men have died. The local fishing industry is threatened. Every conceivable effort is required.

Yet, last week our Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, saw fit to make this comment about the crisis, Our job basically is to keep the boot on the neck of BP to carry out the responsibilities they have both under the law and contractually to move forward and stop this spill. Really? When did I die and wake up in Hugo Chavezs Venezuela or Castros Cuba? What American public officials have talked like this in the past? Who other than some grotesque, cowboy-hat wearing demagogue would try to score political points off this enormous human tragedy?

I was stunned by this remark and was wondering if I had heard it wrong. Well, I hadnt. Thanks to Tony Blankley, formerly a top editor at the Washington Times, for confirming it and writing a terrific column on Salazars thuggishness. Here are several worthwhile paragraphs of Blankleys that contain a fantastically appropriate historical reference:

Within three days, BPs status had shifted from being a partner with the government to having its neck pinned to the ground by a federal government boot. As I write this column, Mr. Salazar has not yet come out to rephrase his indelicate words. But I cant imagine that the public relations boys and girls in the White House backroom like the image of their administration placing its boot on anyones neck. (At least I hope they don’t like that image.) The image of governmental boots have an unfortunate history.

The most famous image is, of course, George Orwells:

But always - do not forget this, Winston - always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling forever on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever. (1984, Part III, Chapter III).

Poor Mr. Salazar. He tried a little too hard to be a good political soldier. I have met him a couple of times, and he seems like a decent, pleasant soul. But my guess is that his boot on the neck line will be the only words that history will recall from the gentleman.

Fascinating that we learned today from a blog post by Jake Tapper at ABC News that the chief of staff of the Department of the Interior the guy who runs things for Boot Boy Salazar took a vacation in the Grand Canyon last week. According to Tapper, Tom Strickland vacationed in Arizona with his wife last week participating in activities that included white-water rafting…. Tapper also notes, The Stricklands departed for the Grand Canyon three days after the leaks in the Deepwater Horizon pipeline were discovered. In other words, well after it was clear that a major commercial-economic disaster was unfolding in the Gulf Strickland went on his trip.

No doubt it was paid for by we-the-taxpayer because it was work-focused. Rafting usually is work-focused, and I bet the chief of staff of the Department of the Interior gets a pretty sweet tour of the Grand Canyon. Sounds like a lot more fun than looking for spill-fighting equipment.

Perhaps, Boot Boy should remove his footwear from BPs neck and direct it toward members of his staff like some of those folks who failed to prepare for this disaster and the one who went rafting while the Gulf of Mexico was filling with oil.

Celebrating Mothers Every Day

by Sherry Crater

May 4, 2010

Watching the recent NFL draft, I noticed that emotions ran high and hugs abounded. The athletes were exuberant in expressing their excitement and gratitude to family and friends who had gathered to share the realization of a lifetime dream to play professional football. There were extended and seemingly more meaningful hugs, however, for the mothers of some of the football players. Noticing the long hugs, sometimes accompanied by tears, made me wonder what untold stories these mothers and sons shared.

We have all heard countless stories of young athletes applauding their moms for being the glue in their lives. Often the dad was unavailable, and mom was the one who encouraged them to stay in school, to get good grades, to work hard and hang with good friends. Mom was the one who often worked an extra job or two so her kids could go to college. She was often the provider and the encourager, but she was also the enforcer when discipline was needed. But, pats on the back didnt come until these young people came of age and realized the enormous impact their mother had on their development and character.

Mothers, indeed, have impact. Never to be minimized is a mothers foundational role, that of giving every one of us life itself. Adding to this indispensable role, mothers wear many other significant hats. Teacher, counselor, nurse, chauffeur, cook, nutritionist, janitor, event planner, decorator, accountant, personal assistant, investor, budget analyst and disciplinarian come readily to mind. Voluminous books could be written about the untold stories of a mothers influence.

There is another impressive but untold story about mothers that is finally unfolding. Its the story of a movement that has changed the hearts of millions of women over the last forty years. Families have been restored, deep wounds have been healed and the lives of babies have been saved. Through voluntary and selfless giving, a network of women and men has provided supportive places where pregnant women can discover their options and receive needed care. This assistance includes medical care during the pregnancy as well as post natal advice. The expectant moms can also find referrals for many community programs and services. Material needs for new moms and babies are met as well. Known by various names (e.g., Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRC), Crisis Pregnancy Centers, Pregnancy Support Centers, etc.), all these organizations meet basic needs and provide healthy alternatives to abortion.

More than 2300 pregnancy resource centers across America are providing a lifeline to women who do not want to abort but need community support during a difficult transitional life change. These centers are privately funded and staffed by compassionate and trained volunteers.

This is a story you will not want to miss. Visit A Passion To Serve, and read about those celebrating mothers every day. And, give your mother an extra hug this Mothers Day.

Tragedy on College Campuses

by Christopher Beach

May 4, 2010

In less than two weeks from today I will graduate from Patrick Henry College and finish four years of my undergraduate. Looking back, I can remember a lot of the typical college experiences late night studying, spring break road trips, and nights out with your friends. Im fortunate to say that I was never involved or associated in one particular college trend in all of my four years violence or murder.

Having personally known one of the girls shot at Virginia Tech on April 16th, 2007, my heart breaks every time I hear of college-related violence and the pointless death of innocent students.

Today, my heart goes out to the family of Yeardley Love, a 22-year-old lacrosse player and student at the University of Virginia, murdered this week by her on-and-off 22-year-old boyfriend.

The thought of such a tragedy makes me wonder why my experience at college has been so different from a majority of the campuses across America. In four years, my school has not had a single murder, suicide, or violent crime.

Considering that the USA Today calculated 857 college student deaths from 2000 to 2005, how does one school manage to escape unscathed? Its certainly not chance or luck. For Patrick Henry College, its in our Christian culture.

Critics mock us for our strict rules like no dancing or drinking on campus, no members of the opposite sex permitted in your dorm room, nightly curfew hours and the lack of a social atmosphere it creates. We have been the subject of books (Gods Harvard), television shows, op-eds, and countless blogs who rant against our brand of overbearing right-wing Christianity that poisons societys freedom.

Yet, what is the cost of students being able to express themselves? Is that freedom worth the cost of drunk driving deaths, drug related violence, and love affairs turned fatal?

Im certainly not saying that Christians are not capable of committing the same, if not worse crimes. But the culture of Christianity and the rules we hold ourselves to at Patrick Henry lay substantial roadblocks to violent or illegal behavior.

Granted, our entire school population would be one or two classes at UVA, but the fact remains that Patrick Henry College has its own recipe for student safety that is active and working. Ill be the first to admit that Ive broken the colleges rules, but as I look back, I realize that in many ways those same laws saved me from myself.

Non-Christians who are reading this right now are sure to be shaking their heads at me. How can you use one unfortunate crime to wave your rules over our heads and try to enforce your agenda on us? I understand that many people are turned off by Christianity and its giant rulebook. But as the number of college related attacks and crimes rise, and as more campuses are scarred with senseless deaths, I hope universities will consider the facts before them and realize that there is a way to prevent future heartbreaks commit to enforcing tough, moral laws and foster a community of students who want to uphold those laws.

Christopher Beach is Associate Producer of Bill Bennett’s nationally syndicated radio show, Morning In America, and a senior at Patrick Henry College. He blogs at Beach Notes.

Planned Parenthood Sees Increase in Profits During the Obama Administration

by Family Research Council

May 3, 2010

In the first public records marking any fiscal change since the Obama Administration began, Planned Parenthoods most recent 990 tax forms show a significant increase in revenue during fiscal year 2009, half of which time Obama was in office. In fiscal year 2008, the nonprofit claimed revenue of $85,758,316. In fiscal year 2009, that amount increased to $106,357,796, marking an increase of over twenty million dollars. This was during the same time frame that unemployment rose as high as 9.5%.

Just in Time for Mothers Day

by Family Research Council

May 3, 2010

Last Wednesday, April 28th, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi continued to use her favorite line at an Emilys List Fundraiser, being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition. In doing so, not only is she openly and directly contradicting any credibility of the Presidents Executive Order, but also her own words to Leader Boehner at the healthcare summit. I want the record to show that two statements were made that are not factual in relationship to these bills…My colleague Leader Boehner, the law of the land is that there is no public funding of abortions and there is no public funding of abortion in this bill and I dont want our listeners or viewers to get the wrong impression from what you said.

In addition to revealing the real story about taxpayer funding of abortion in healthcare, Speaker Pelosi is also making the unfortunate and inaccurate claim that the ability to have a tax payer funded abortion is a right and honor as a woman. I (and many others) would argue that having an abortion is the complete antithesis of what it means to be a woman.

Across the country, and perhaps at least indirectly related to the boost the abortion business will receive from the new healthcare law, tomorrow, May 4th, Planned Parenthood celebrates the grand opening of their new headquarters in Houston, Texas. The building is twice as large as their last headquarters and is proud to boast the ability to perform late term abortions on children who have developed in their mothers womb for up to twenty-five weeks.

In the words of Peter Durkin, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood for Southeast Texas, Louisiana and the Mississippi Delta, the buildings architecture (which has been likened to a giant cash register) is most accurately described as a giant staircase, leading upward in the prevention of unwanted and teen pregnancies.

On Friday night, over 2000 peaceful protesters participated in a prayer vigil outside of a party in honor of the new building. The vigil was organized by Houston Coalition for Life and Life Advocates and seemed to attract the attention of Planned Parenthood party-goers.

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