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April 15, 2008     Cape Gazette
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April 15, 2008

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24 - CAPE GAZETTE - Tuesday, April 15 - Thursday, April 17, 2008 Stem cells show promise for disease cures Editor's note: This is the first in a two-part series about stem cells. (2.: There's been so much in the news about stem cells, but I still don't understand what they are. Can you explain? HEALTHY GEEZER Fred Cicetti regenerate or repair diseased tis- sue in people. The extraction of embryonic stem cells kills them. There's been controversy about embryon- ic stem cells because some people believe that scientists are taking human lives during extraction. "Adult stem cells" is a mis- nomer used to describe stem ceils found in adult tissues, children, A.: This is the most complicated topic I've covered in this column, so I can understand why you have questions about it. The subject is so vast that I'm going to present it in two parts. Here goes: In your body, you have special- ized cells that make up your brain, blood, bones and other anatomical parts. Stem cells are not special- ized; they are master cells. Stem cells divide to form specialized cells or new stem cells. There are two basic forms of stem cells: embryonic and adult. Embryonic stem cells come from embryos that are a few days old. These cells can divide into more stem cells or any type of body cell. Embryonic stem cells have the greatest capacity to placentas and umbilical cords. Some scientists now use the term somatic (body) stem cell. Adult stem cells are often present in only small quantities. The primary functions of adult stem cells are to maintain and repair tissue. The conventional wisdom has been that adult stem cells create only one kind of specialized cell, but a new theory suggests these cells may have the potential to do more. For examPle, bone-marrow stem cells responsible for produc- ing blood might be able to make nerve tissue. Recently, researchers reported creating stem cells by altering the genes in adult skin cells. These new cells acted like embryonic stem cells, according to these sci- entists. The research in convert- ing adult cells into embryonic stem cells is in its very early stages. There are three classes of stem cells: totipotent, multipotent and pluripotent. A fertilized egg is totipotent; it Hospice hin,00s new medical director Dr. Linda M. De Feo, M.D., J.D., of Rehoboth Beach, has joined the medical staff of Delaware Hospice as a regional medical director with primary responsibility for the new Delaware Hospice Center. As regional medical director, De Feo will provide medical expertise to Delaware Hospice's care teams and will consult and collaborate with physicians. She will conduct educational seminars to healthcare profession- als to gain a better understanding of hospice care, thus assuring that hospice serv- ices are acces- sible to patients and families. De Feo earned her medical degree from the Medical DE FEO College of Ohio, and her juris doctorate from the University of Maryland's School of Law.-. She has served .as the president of the Maryland College of Emergency Physicians. De Feo has practiced for 27 years in emer- gency medicine as a physician and as an administrator. For more information about Delaware Hospice's programs and services, upcoming events or employment opportunities, call 800-838-9800 or visit has total potential. It can lead to all the different type s of cells in the body. Stem cells that can lead to a small number of different cell types are multipotent. Pluripotent stem cells can give rise to any type of cell in the body except those required to develop a fetus. Stem cells can be used to create lines, which are cell cultures that can be grown indefinitely in the laboratory and then frozen for storage. Studying stem cells will help us understand how they transform into specialized cells. The causes of cancer and birth defects could be found somewhere in this process. Once scientists under- stand cell development, they may be able to correct the errors that cause these medical conditions. Donated organs and tissues are often used to replace those that are diseased or destroyed. Unfortunately, the number of peo- ple needing a transplant far exceeds the number of organs available for transplantation. Another potential application of stem cells is making cells and tis- sues for medical therapies. Stem cells offer the possibility of a renewable source of replace- ment cells and tissues to treat many medical problems including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's dis- eases, spinal cord injury, stroke, bums, heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Editor's note: Fred Cicetti is a first-class geezer over 60 who writes a health column for senior citizens. Email questions to or visit http :// [] Bayside Continued from page 23 form hysterectomy. Surgeons at Bayside Health Associates use the minimally inva- sive procedures for either the total laparoscopic hysterectomy or laparoscopic supracervical hys- terectomy. Either procedure requires vari- Ous specialized instruments insert- ed through three small dime-sized incisions: one at the belly button and one on each side of the abdomen near the hip bone. Through these incisions, the entire uterus or the upper two-thirds of the uterus can be safely removed. This approach is less unComfort- able than the ones traditionally used in abdominal surgery, and the hospital stay is usually only overnight. Resumption of full activities - including work, relations and exer- cise - ranges from five to 14 days. The traditional hysterectomy requires a six-week recovery peri- od at best. Other benefits are less blood loss and therefore less need for transfu- sion; less time in the operating room, so tess anesthesia; markedly less pain; and less infection. Risks are the same for this as with all sur- geries: reaction to anesthesia and medications, problems breathing, bleeding, infection, blood clots, inadvertent injury to surrounding organs or vessels. In case this approach is not able to be complet- ed, conversion to the traditional method will take place. Your healthcare provider knows best. Talk to your physician about whether minimally invasive total hysterectomy or supracervical hys- terectomy is the right approach for your procedure. lives Lewes, DE ............. May 3 ' - 3:00PM The Leukemio & Lymphomo Society U TKA. M@ !11 Adams O Kings Hwy. --