The topic I chose for my health buzz is stem cells, but stem cells sound nothing like what they really are. Stem cells are cells in our body that can multiply indefinitely into more stem cells, and become any other kind of cell. These cells affect everybody on Earth, and they affect my family because many of my relatives have had trouble with cancer. Stem cells, with their potential to become anything, could become the “miracle cure” for cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s as well as many others. I knew that stem cells could become anything, but the unlimited potential that they unlock is unknown to almost all people. I remember when my grandfather died, that I thought that I would do anything to stop that from happening. Stem cells could save countless lives, by doing anything from repairing corrupted DNA in a newborn baby, to healing a mortal wound of a war veteran. Thousands of teenagers have life threatening diseases and syndromes right now, and the use of stem cells in medicine could save them.
I expanded my learning about this issue by doing research and realizing that stem cell is not in the distant future, but instead is being implemented even now. I believe that large amounts of research should be devoted to solving the problems involving stem cell medicine and gathering the cells themself. What I found surprising was that stem cells can not only become any cell, they can also, like any other cell, multiply and renew themselves. This means that they can be grown in labs and don’t need to be extracted from humans. Some common misunderstandings are that stem cells are an inhumane way to treat people, like human experimentation. In reality, a stem cell transplant is almost like a shot. Many cancer patients get stem cells in order to replace the cells they lost to cancer, allowing them to survive. I thought that stem cell treatments were only for the pampered and wealthy, but even now, stem cells are being applied to many patients at hospitals, in a hope that it will help them survive. There are some ethical objections to embryonic stem cell research, because early-stage embryos must be destroyed in order to obtain stem cells. Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, created by reprogramming human skin cells, help avoid these problems. Although stem cells are unbelievably useful, many of the health issues we place upon ourselves could be easily avoided, and instead of wasting valuable resources, let’s take care of ourselves and save the stem cells for those who need them desperately.
This is a fictional image of a bottle full of stem cells. It shows that, since they are being intensely researched now, they may soon be easily available to the public in something as common as a bottle. The bottle is shaped like a rum bottle, and this shows that the “miracle cure” may be as common as rum.