Puppies Will Walk Again!


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            How far would you go, and how much money would you spend to help your dog walk again? A study done by Cambridge University has found that by injecting dogs that are paralyzed with basically stem cells from the nose or "olfactory ensheathing cells" as Outside Online puts it can actually help them gain the ability to walk. Thirty-three dogs were in this study and most of them were injected with these cells, while the others were given a placebo. All of the dogs injected wit these cells were able to walk again and have full use of their hind legs. However as the video points out this may not work as well in humans. It works in dogs because it allows the hind legs to cooperate with the front legs and humans are not that simple. So while they may gain some movement back, it is not certain that they will regain all of their movement.

This study is, in my opinion, pretty amazing, but I see a few flaws with it. One problem I have is that 33 dogs is a relatively small sample size to draw from. Making the conclusions not as accurate. Also, the study was done on dogs, not monkeys or rats or pigs, so it's hard to say how relevant this study is to humans. Another problem I found with this is what happens to the placebo dogs? Is it ethical to give most of the dogs an injection that the researchers hypothesize will give them the ability to walk, and not the others? Also I'd like to see a follow up on the dogs given the treatment to see if there were any long-term effects and if they maintained the ability to walk. I also believe this study needs to be done on another species such as monkeys or something closer to humans in order to see the effects, before it is tried on humans. While this is a great advancement, a lot more science needs to be done before any big conclusions are drawn.

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Works Cited:   http://www.outsideonline.com/news-from-the-field/Cambridge-University-Scientists-Cure-Paralysis-in-Dogs.html

http://scienceblogs.com/lifelines/2012/11/21/nasal-cells-used-to-help-paralyzed-dog-walk-again/

5 Comments

This is an interesting idea that these stem cells may help humans walk. If this study was conducted correctly, I would say this is a great start. Like you said, 33 dogs is not many and the most important thing is to replicate these findings with other species. Even if this concept does not help humans, will it be beneficial to other trotting animals? I think this is the start of something...

While reading your article I had the same thoughts. Right before you said you thought the experiment should be done on monkeys in addition to dogs I thought that too. I'm not an expert on animals but I thought this because monkeys are more similar to humans than dogs, especially in the way their bodies look and act when walking... like how they can walk without their hands which when discussing paralysis in humans is very important. I do think this is interesting and something I hadn't heard before. It would be amazing if we could cure paralysis with stem cells though! I agree more studies with more subjects need to be done before testing on humans though. With the ethics issue I do feel sorry for the paralyzed dogs but most likely if a person's dog loses the use of it's legs the dog will be put to sleep and so for them to have a chance is better than without the treatment that they would probably get. With humans for any kind of disease in most all cases you aren't "put to sleep" so a treatment that could kill a patient would certainly be more ethical because they have more time without the treatment.

This may sound heartless- but I don't think its unethical to do this kind of study on puppies. Because the sample size was so small (only 33) it's not as though hundreds of thousands of puppies were suffering. Also, if you think about all the humans in the world that are used as test dummies in scientific experiments each year, this study seems pretty dismal. Because the stem cell debate (explained in this article) has been so controversial over the years, I can why this study has some extra issues with the public. I personally think that stem cells should be used more in science- if it's they key to curing cancer or un-paralyzing our loved ones, I don't see what the problem is. Yes, the removal of the stem cells requires the termination of an early embryo- but in my personal opinion, saving a life of someone who is already living just as important as saving one that hasn't begun.

If it helps humans I'd test this on as many animals as I needed to. This whole bleeding heart deal is beyond annoying. Animals are not people, they do not think like we do, they do not have morals, and in most could care less about your well-being. That being said there is a difference between conducting research and being cruel. I don't think there should be a study on how hard you have to kick a puppy before it dies, but if there is study being conducted that could potentially cure a child's cancer or help someone walk again; I say test away.

Animal testing is a necessary evil. Reality is if we don't test on animals that leaves us with testing on people. Which to get the correct numbers would prove quite difficult. We eat animals, use their skins and furs as fashion statements, stuff them, etc. At least this type of thing is for a greater good.

Also, just a heads up on the stem cell embryo deal...They come from other sources, not just terminated embryos.

let's focus on this misuse of animals

Stem Cell FAQ

I never said they got the stem cells from embryos it seems as though you took my article out of context. It says in the article it was taken from the naval cavity not form an embryo, so I was not talking about that. And i realize the necessity of animal testing, my question was whether it is ethical to purposefully not treat a certain group of dogs, maybe they got the treatment after.

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