stems cells-->neurons
January 31, 2005 4:29 AM   Subscribe

Stem cells-->neurons. Scientific American link. Also discussed most recently here.
posted by yoga (12 comments total)
If babies being slaughtered by the truckload for the sake of raising my IQ by a few points is wrong, then I don't want to be right.

. . . although perhaps greater intelligence would imbue me with a better sense of ethics.
posted by Ryvar at 4:36 AM on January 31, 2005

... ah, but are they really babies at that point?

Ding Ding! Round One!
posted by Chunder at 5:06 AM on January 31, 2005

Yeah. Maybe someday they'll do something about that problem where tons of people get abortions just to supply stem cells for scientific research.
posted by Vulpyne at 5:06 AM on January 31, 2005

ryvar, a higher IQ will just make it all the more painful to wake up to rod stewart on the radio.
posted by three blind mice at 5:09 AM on January 31, 2005

Less painful than being unable to reach over and turn the radio off?
posted by manicroom at 6:22 AM on January 31, 2005

UW represent!
posted by rocketman at 9:20 AM on January 31, 2005

This is good news, but more of a 'steady march of progress' kind of thing than a breakthrough. Li. et. al have made these cells in a bottle; getting them into someone in the right place and having them function is a whole lot harder. Also, note that they made motoneurons, not CNS neurons, so Ryvar: making baby puree by this recipe won't help your smarts any. This is great news for neurobiologists, really good news for people with diseases of the peripheral nervous system, and not-directly-applicable-but-a-little bit-of-hope news for people with CNS diseases.
posted by monocyte at 9:28 AM on January 31, 2005

monocyte, I'm confused. Can I or can I not develop superhuman abilities through the slaughter of babies?
posted by Jairus at 9:52 AM on January 31, 2005

mmm. baby puree.
posted by exlotuseater at 9:55 AM on January 31, 2005

While this is a 'steady march of progress' kinda thing, it's also an important breakthrough. Not the only one that needs to be made, but it brings us a great deal closer to being able to heal spinal cord injuries.

Of course, this shouldn't be allowed, because if we don't afford the full rights of a human being on a microscopic mass of undifferentiated cells, what kind of people are we? I can't help but weep for all the babies slaughtered in our misguided quest for 'progress', just as I weep for the countless nematodes I murder whenever I eat a salad.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 10:09 AM on January 31, 2005

Jairus - there's a Sci-fi short story (I can't remember the exact name) where the premise was that certain bits of fetal brain (substantia nigra?) were harvested from abandoned Chinese female infants and implanted into rich Westerners as a treatment for certain neurological disorders.

Too bad the pain and suffering of the dying infants imprinted into the brain cells and the people who received them began experiencing what the infants had...

no, the premise is not plausible (eg. differentiated post-mitotic and likely antigen-mismatched tissue not to mention imprinted memories); using your own stem cells might, though
posted by PurplePorpoise at 2:55 PM on January 31, 2005

not-directly-applicable-but-a-little bit-of-hope news for people with CNS diseases

Always a bridesmaid...
posted by jesourie at 7:00 PM on January 31, 2005

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