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Biol101 Homework Assignment 2

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B) Stem cells. A relative of a friend of yours had a spinal cord injury after a bad car accident. The medical team has decided that this patient is a good candidate for a clinical trial using stem cell therapy. Your friend has not had a biology course since high school, so you are going to write for him or her a two-page discussion of stem cell information. In your discussion, include a description of the biology of stem cells, and explain how these cells are unique in their ability to treat diseases and injury. The following website from NIH regarding stem cell research will be very helpful:

Before we determine how stem cells can treat various diseases including spinal cord injuries, let us first understand the root of a spinal cord injury. The spinal cord is an extension of the central nervous system that establishes a structural connection between the brain and the other structures of the body (e.g., arms and legs, bowel, bladder) through nerve fibers. A clear fluid called Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF) that acts as a cushion to protect the delicate nerve tissues against damage from banging against the inside of the vertebrae surrounds the spinal cord. The vertebrae is made up of thirty-three bones, each with a circular opening similar to the hole in a donut. (“Spinal Cord Injury: Hope Through Research" NINDS. Publication date August 2003) The central nervous system is organized in a way that allows certain parts of the spinal cord to control and affect certain parts of the body. Messages transmitting pain, movement, temperature, touch, and vibration regarding the skin, joints, muscles, and internal organs are all relayed through the spinal cord. You would think that with a job this important the central nervous system would be protected, and it is. The central nervous system is one of the best-protected systems in the...

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