Minneapolis, MN (PRWEB) November 1, 2004
Today, Parkinson's disease activist Jackie Christensen, who calls herself the "M.U.S.C.L.E. MOM" (Minnesotan Urging Stem Cell Line Expansion), called upon voters around the country to view the current state of the U.S. government in a new way when making their decision. She asked people to think of Parkinson's disease as a metaphor for the current state of affairs in America.
Christensen urged voters to imagine that their brains represented the federal government, the nerve center of the country. The Executive Branch would be the substantia nigra, the part of the brain that produces dopamine, a chemical messenger that tell muscles how to move. Parkinson's disease affects this portion of the brain. Generally, by the time PD is detected, about 80 percent of the substantia nigra's dopamine-producing cells have died or are not functioning properly. For many Americans, it has taken the last four years to see the damage that has been done to the country.
"Just think about the widespread criticism by many members of the public of the job performance of Donald Rumsfeld, John Ashcroft, Condolezza Rice and other key Cabinet members recently," Christensen said. "Like damaged neurons, many members of the Bush Administration's Cabinet seem to have disappeared or are not performing as they previously did."
In the case of Parkinson's disease, there is no known cure, but stem cells Â particularly embryonic stem cells -- offer much promise for treatment and insight into the disease. Under the Bush Administration, restrictions on the use of embryonic stem cells to less than two dozen lines, all of which are contaminated with mouse cells, has hampered research into the promising possibilities for new therapies for PD and other diseases.
Christensen asked voters to think about more similarities with PD and the state of the country. With PD, the strength and performance of one's arms and legs are affected. Limbs are weaker and may alternately shake or "freeze." Within America, the stock market has fluctuated like shaking limbs, and job growth has often seemed "frozen."
"As they make their choice, I am urging voters to look at the election this way," finished Christensen. "Stem cells can offer a 'regime change' for the brain affected by Parkinson's disease, ALS, Alzheimer's and other conditions. Voting for John Kerry and John Edwards can produce a national regime change that could improve U.S. relations with other countries, stabilize the stock market and allow for movement in the job market. There is no guarantee with either operation, but both sure look appealing Â and promising -- to me!"
Senator John Kerry has made it clear that expanding a well-regulated federal program for therapeutic uses of stem cell research would be a priority under his administration.
Jackie Christensen is a 40-year-old wife and mother of two who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease at age 33. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota and has been an environmental and health activist for nearly 20 years.
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