April 4, 2007 | David F. Coppedge

Adult Stem Cells Form Heart Valve

The BBC News reported that part of a heart valve was grown from stem cells.  The article did not state till halfway down the page that the feat was achieved with adult stem cells, not embryonic stem cells.

Everybody knows that the big battle over stem cells revolves around the ethics of using human embryos for research.  Adult stem cells have no ethical issues, whereas embryonic stem cells garner big debates about bioethics and morality.  Why did the BBC News understate this important point?  Why did they tout the loaded term “stem cells” in the title and first few paragraphs, leading the casual reader to assume that the more-hyped embryonic cells were responsible?  Why did they equate the two in the graphic, as if embryonic stem cells have an equivalent track record with adult stem cells?  Here was a key opportunity to score one for adult stem cell research, but the reader had to dig to find out it had nothing to do with embryos.  This is one way the media can tell the truth with bias aforethought.

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