Month Archives: December 2009

FRC Releases Major New Study On How Pornography Threatens Marriages, Children, Communities, and Individuals

by JP Duffy

December 2, 2009

Washington D.C.- Family Research Council (FRC) released a new study today that comprehensively details the effects of pornography on marriages, children, communities and individuals. Pat Fagan, Ph.D. authored the study and serves as FRC’s Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for Research on Marriage and Religion.

Dr. Fagan made the following comments:

This is a ground-breaking review of what pornography costs families trying to create a life together. Men, women and sometimes even children are saturated by sexual content, and more significantly, are told that it has no real effect. It’s just a little amusement.

Pornography corrodes the conscience, promotes distrust between husbands and wives and debases untold thousands of young women. It is not harmless escapism but relational and emotional poison.

The fact that marriage rates are dropping steadily is well known. But the impact of pornography use and its correlation to fractured families has been little discussed. The data show that as pornography sales increase, the marriage rate drops.

As this academic review reveals, pornography is creating a debt of the spirit and a cost in the lives of family members that rivals any deficit the federal government is producing.

The science is clear: children from families without married parents have much higher poverty rates as well as poorer health and other socio-economic difficulties. Nations with low marriage rates suffer the same fates. And underlying the social trends is the impact of pornography on family formation. It’s a quiet family killer.”

Among the study’s findings:

Men who view pornography regularly have a higher tolerance for abnormal sexuality, including rape, sexual aggression, and sexual promiscuity.

Married men who are involved in pornography feel less satisfied with their conjugal relations and less emotionally attached to their wives. Wives notice and are upset by the difference.

Pornography engenders greater sexual permissiveness, which in turn leads to a greater risk of out-of-wedlock births and STDs, which in turn lead to still more weaknesses and debilities.

The presence of sexually oriented businesses significantly harms the surrounding community, leading to increases in crime and decreases in property values.

Child-sex offenders are more likely to view pornography regularly or to be involved in its distribution.

Pornography eliminates the warmth of affectionate family life, which is the natural social nutrient for the growing child.

Click here to download the full study.

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Breathing Easier with Adult Stem Cells

by David Prentice

December 2, 2009

Several recent reports, using animal models, provide evidence for treating lung disorders with adult stem cells.

Premature babies are often placed on ventilators to deliver oxygen and expand underdeveloped lungs, but the high oxygen and mechanical ventilation can lead to lung inflammation, inhibit proper lung growth, and lead to long-term complications. Work out of Children’s Hospital in Boston found that bone marrow stromal cells, a type of adult stem cell, can reduce inflammation in lung tissue. Using newborn mice as a model, the researchers injected adult bone marrow stem cells intravenously. The cells migrated to the lungs and prevented inflammation. The cells seem to work by secreting protective and stimulatory factors that help the lung cells and blood vessels; the same effects could be obtained by injecting the growth medium in which the adult stem cells had been grown. The results are published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Similar results have been published by an international team, led by Canadian scientist Dr. Bernard Thebaud at the Stollery Children’s Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta. Using a rat model, the scientists found that adult stem cells from bone marrow could repair lung damage in newborn rats as well as prevent further damage. According to Dr. Thebaud:

The really exciting thing that we discovered was that stem cells are like little factories, pumping out healing factors.”

These results are also published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

More breathable news comes from a team in South Korea led by Dr. Won Soon Park from the Samsung Medical Center. Using newborn laboratory rats with oxygen-deprived lung injury, the researchers found that mesenchymal stem cells, a type of adult stem cell from umbilical cord blood, had a protective effect against low-oxygen-induced lung injury. They noted that their findings could have important therapeutic potential for the currently untreatable hyperoxic neonatal lung disease, or bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), in premature human infants. The easy availability of umbilical cord blood is also an associated benefit. The results are published in the journal Cell Transplantation.

And in a final breath of adult stem cell fresh air, a team at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine identified adult stem cells in the bone marrow of mice that could prevent and treat acute lung injury. The researchers discovered a way to grow and stimulate the adult stem cells, and when injected into mice with acute lung injury, the cells repaired the lung injury, prevented fluid build-up and improved survival of the mice. Results were published in the journal Stem Cells.

So take a deep breath in appreciation of adult stem cells.

A Swiss Non-Miss

by Rob Schwarzwalder

December 2, 2009

So: the people of Switzerland, by a roughly three-to-two margin, have decided to prevent the erection of any more minarets (not mosques, mind you, just minarets) in their traditionally Christian country.

Switzerland, whose national flag features a cross (odd - the Saudi flag features a scimitar), is weary of having minarets popping up in their quiet towns and suburbs. A European country with a unique culture and thousand-year old architectural tradition disliking the insinuation of Islamic structures into its neighborhoods - go figure …

Now, that amorphous entity, the “international community,” is up in arms. The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, is condemning “the anti-foreigner scare mongering which has characterized political campaigns in a number of countries including Switzerland.” Anti-foreigner? Or cultural self-protection?

Of course, any true religious or ethnic bigotry is morally wrong. All persons are made in the image and likeness of God and should be free to worship as they wish. But no group has the right to enter a host culture and demand conformity to its traditions. That’s aggressive, insulting and insensitive.

Why is it unacceptable for Europeans not to want their countries Islamicized? Muslims are now in Europe in significant numbers, but they are almost entirely unharrassed. Yet not a single Christian church exists in Saudi Arabia. Christians in Islamic countries often are attacked, discriminated against (Christians and Jews are often paid only half of their Muslim counterparts, per the command of the Quran) and prevented from free and open worship. Go to Voice of the Martyrs and see for yourself.

Count the crosses in the Islamic world. Read about the anti-Semitic rhetoric of many Islamic groups in Europe. Consider the repression of, and frequent violence against, Christians in Muslim-dominant nations. Add up the “fatwas” against Muslims who dare convert to faith in Jesus.

Then ask me to worry about the Swiss vote on minarets. Just don’t hold your breath.

Blessed are the Merciful

by Robert Morrison

December 1, 2009

I have made friends with a German journalist. Dr. Uwe Siemon-Netto wants to interview me about a story from World War II that determined the course of my fathers life, and of course, my own.

My dad, who would have been 99 today, was torpedoed by a German U-boat (U-516) sixty miles due east of Durban, South Africa, on 17 Feb 43. We memorized that date when we were kids, like a family birthday. In a real sense, it was.

Dr. Siemon-Netto is interested in what the U-boat skipper did that night. Korvettenkapitan (lieutenant commander) Gerhard Wiebe held off sending in a second torpedo so that that my father, Leslie Morrison, and his shipmates could clamber over the side of the sinking S.S. Deer Lodge and make it toward the lifeboats. Had Wiebe sent in his second fish immediately after the first, he could easily have killed most of the doomed vessels crewmen.

That was not all. Lt. Cmdr. gave water, food, and charts to men in the boats. This detail was supplied to me by my dads 88-year old shipmate, Manny Dias, whom my wife and I visited in Massachusetts last May. My dad had never mentioned that. Perhaps he didnt know.

Checking with American submariner friends at the U.S. Naval Academy, where my family lived for five years, weve been unable to find a single instance of an American submarine skipper in WWII giving survivors water, food, and charts. Perhaps we will find such an example as we pursue this story.

Why is Gerhard Wiebes story important? Why is the Good Samaritans story important? Jesus chose to illustrate his sermon with a Samaritan. The Samaritans were members of a despised race, whom good Jews of the day regarded as half-breeds, or worse. Jesus wanted to show his hearers then, and his followers ever after, what it truly meant to love your neighbor. The Samaritan took grave risks of his own life to give compassionate care to the victim of a robbery. He might have been killed by robbers lying in wait.

Commander Wiebe also took a great risk. If any of the men in those lifeboats had cranked up his Brown Betty, the emergency radio transmitter that merchant ships carried, he might have brought allied bombers to the scene in minutes. They could have dropped depth charges. They could have sent Wiebes U-516 and all his crew to the bottom.

Dr. Siemon-Netto thinks this story might be important for Germans living today. He has written most movingly of how todays Germans do not bear the guilt of the Holocaust. The vast majority of Germans were not even born then. Or, like Herr Siemon-Netto himself, they were just little children when it happened.

But we Germans do bear shame, he has said, for what was done in our land, for what was done in our name. And, he warns us Americans, we may bear shame, too.

America may come to represent the slaughter of innocents at home and around the world through the actions of an aggressively pro-abortion administration.

One detail helpfully provided by a German U-boat website presents a most hopeful prospect. The U-516 surrendered on 8 May 45 off Belfast, Northern Ireland. That was

V-E Day and Grossadmiral Karl Donitz, whom Hitler had chosen as Fuhrer when he shot himself, had ordered all U-boats to surrender that day.

The U-516 had not suffered a single casualty in the war. Of the 40,000 German U-boat sailors who went out, only 10,000 came back alive. With U-516, we can say with Jesus: Blessed are the Merciful, for they shall receive Mercy.

Adult Stem Cells Heal Human Hearts

by David Prentice

December 1, 2009

In a newly-published study, scientists from several institutions across the country report that use of adult stem cells can repair hearts damaged from heart attack. The researchers say that it’s some of the strongest evidence yet that adult stem cells can turn into new heart cells to repair damaged tissue. The study suggests that adult stem cells, in this case derived from bone marrow, are more flexible than previously thought. The published study looks at 53 patients who had heart attacks within the previous ten days. Patients were injected intravenously with mesenchymal adult stem cells; the cells migrated to the damaged heart and began repair. Patients who received the adult stem cells showed improvement over those who did not receive the cells. According to Dr. Joshua Hare, a University of Miami cardiologist and lead author of the 10-university study:

This clearly did help heal the human heart.”

The adult stem cells seem to repair heart damage by several mechanisms. Besides forming new heart cells, another cardiologist on the project, Dr. Alan Heldman, notes:

The stem cells take part in the growth of new blood vessels to bring more oxygen to the heart. They help modulate the scarring from the heart attack. They fight inflammation. There’s a lot going on:”

This is just the latest of many published results showing the efficacy of adult stem cells in repairing heart damage. The paper is published in the 8 December 2009 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

New Presidential Bioethics Commission

by David Prentice

December 1, 2009

The previous President’s Council on Bioethics was terminated before its time by President Obama back in June. Its charter was scheduled to expire in September, and there was some thought it was booted early to clear the deck for a new bioethics group aligned with the president. But no new bioethics council was formed to fill the void. Seems likely the old bioethics council was just giving contrary signals to the President (10 of the 18 members criticized the President after his March 9 speech where he opened the possibility of using more human embryos for research, including creating cloned human embryos for experiments.) Given that the NIH was preparing to promulgate new guidelines for using human embryos, including the steps to take for their destruction to allow federal taxpayer funding of their harvested cells, the “President’s” bioethics council presented an official unwelcome burr under the saddle.

Finally, well after the old council’s term would have expired, we now have the announcement that a new Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues will be established (Executive Order 13521). The announcement actually was made a week ago, on November 24. However, as of this writing the Executive Order still does not appear on the White House website (they must have been in a hurry to get to the state dinner.) However, the Executive Order was finally published in the Federal Register on Monday, November 30. The press release names the chair (Amy Gutmann, President of the University of Pennsylvania) and vice chair (James Wagner, president of Emory University) but does not name the other members of the commission (not more than 13 members total.) An interesting part of the Executive Order states that “at least one and not more than three of whom may be bioethicists or scientists drawn from the executive branch, as designated by the President.” So, there is a chance to seed the commission with like-minded folks. Nature notes that the new group is “explicitly charged with recommending legislative and regulatory action and promises to have more influence on policy.” The article also quotes George Annas opinion that the previous bioethics council had a “narrow, embryo-centric agenda”. Nothing could be further from the truth, as evidenced by the range of topics covered by the previous council, including aging, genetic screening, and determination of death (the council’s archived website should soon be available from the National Reference Center for Bioethics Literature).

It will be interesting to see the final composition of this new presidential bioethics group, and whether they can live up to the openness, education of the public, and representation of diverse views seen with the last bioethics council. If not, it will just be a rubber stamp for presidential policies.

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