Cirrhosis Liver Condition And Jaundice Biology Essay


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Embryonic stem cell therapy, despite the fact that it has much to recommend itself since it spares a patient from the debilitating torments he or she is subjected to and at best, steers the patient away from the brink of death, it is somehow, ironically considered as a blessing in disguise in view of the cliché that the usage of embryonic stem cells is effectively murder. To the opposition of those pro-lifers who cling on to the belief that there is no morally significant demarcation in the physical growth continuum[] between an embryo and a fully-developed human, it never justifies the alleviation of suffering from an existing life at the seeming expense of a potential human life that has just come into being. The statutory and indefeasible obligation that all individuals possess the integral rights not to have their zest in maintaining their lives interfered with in whatsoever ways is often seen as an added argument against the exploitation of embryos which otherwise are humans-to-be at conception.

Embryonic stem cells, pluripotent as they are in the early stages, offer a great prospect of treating cirrhosis due to its ability to keep on generating new cells as required whilst maintaining a remarkable capacity to give rise to any types of cells except the trophoblastic cells of the placenta. They can develop into specialized tissue lineages and thus, they, in lieu of donated organs, can be used as a substitute for those dysfunctional or damaged ones. This irrefutably solves the liver shortage crisis, wherein patients on the incredibly long transplant waiting lists die awaiting transplants since the donors available are obviously outnumbered by the patients in need. As to liver transplant, it is undeniably a life-saving option for severe cases where no other medical or surgical treatment exists. While stem cell therapy is still in the infancy stage, liver transplant serves as the last resort for most patients. The survival rate is relatively high as compared to the results of other surgeries, wherein it is more than 80% at one year, and 70% at five years.[]

Stem cell therapy and liver transplant, despite the hurrahs they engender, show certain drawbacks nonetheless. First of all, chances are there that the pluripotent nature of embryonic stem cells as well as their capability of infinite cellular divisions may lead to the development of malignant tumours should the cells divide uncontrollably. Studies have shown that tumour-initiating cells exude stem-like features to an extent sufficient enough to establish a close link between teratomas and stem cells. This is further justified by the fact that the observed experimental and clinical behaviours of metastatic cancer cells greatly reflects the classical properties of stem cells.[] Apart from that, transplantation of embryonic stem cells into a patient's body might cause rejection since they are not derived from the particular patient and hence, foreign antigens are introduced. words

Figure 2: How Do Cancer Stem Cells Arise?

Source: figure9_1.jpg

Liver transplant, likewise, causes rejection as it is by nature that a person's immune system tends to attack foreign cells which are harmful to the body. As such, immunosuppressants have to be taken in order to thwart the resulting lethal immune response towards the cells of the new liver. Immunosuppressants, for instance, tacrolimus and cyclosporine[], render the immune system unresponsive and this allows a potential chance for those micro-organisms that live normally in the body before to trigger off various infections.



Dietary Changes

Dietary changes are bound to serve the purpose of treating cirrhosis. In knowledge of this, cirrhotic patients should steer clear of alcohol which festers liver damage. As malnourishment is prevalent among cirrhotic patients, a well-balanced and healthy diet is crucial for their survival. Dietary proteins of top-notch quality which supply beneficial amino acids are proved to be particularly helpful for cirrhotic patients with ascites as well as for repairing muscle masses.[] Excess proteins, somehow, give rise to hepatic encephalopathy and therefore, the amount of proteins consumed should be kept in check such that it never splits starkly from the optimum level.

Besides, a sodium-restricted diet, preferably with the salt consumption less than 2000 mg a day, is high recommended for patients with ascites since salt promotes fluid build-up in the body.[] Apart from that, cirrhotic patients should completely abstain from raw shellfish which induces the risk of blood poisoning (septicimia) via the bacterium it contains.[] Iron-rich foods, namely red meats and iron-fortified cereals, should be avoided as well since elevated iron levels are affiliated with cirrhosis. To sum it up, it is never a bad idea to increase the intake of fresh fruits and vegetables while keeping a wide berth from processed foods.

A study in 2006 showed that people who drank 1 to 3 cups of coffee on a daily basis reduced their risk of alcoholic cirrhosis by 40% whereas those who drank 4 or more cups reduced their risk by 80%. Source:



Xu, J.Q., Kochanek, K.D., Murphy, S.L. and Tejada-Vera, B. 2010. Deaths: Final

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National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. 2008. Cirrhosis.

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Rickard, M. 2002. Key Ethical Issues in Embryonic Stem Cell Research. p. 7.

Canberra : The Department of the Parliamentary Library.

California Pacific Medical Center. 2011. Financial Matters: Liver Transplant Costs.

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finance.html. Accessed on 27th May 2011.

Project America. 2008. Research: Stem Cells. Available from: Accessed on 27th May 2011.

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transplantation/faq.php. Accessed on 29th May 2011.

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