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Issue: #5May 2010
Thank you for being part of our community. ASEP is the specific voice for (historically under-represented) Exercise Physiologists. Please use this Newsletter as a link to ASEP resources from scientific journals to professional papers, to employment and related opportunities. And be sure to click on "More On Us" at the left for the ASEP-Newsletter's parent web site.
Yours in health, 
-Lonnie Lowery and Jonathan Mike, ASEP-Newsletter Editors 
 Editor's Corner

editorial The ASEP-Newsletter Readership: An Important Part of ASEP



Early May is always a busy time for ASEP-Newletter readers so this month we are simply updating subscribers with information regarding our readership. Over the past few months, we were pleased to see continued slow and steady growth...


April 1907 readers
March 1858 readers
February 1825 readers
January 1791 readers
As usual, this growth has been comprised of academics, clinical professionals, students and those employed in other exercise-related jobs. It is a high-quality group! This growth is important as part of ASEP's ongoing objective to gain enough mass to better serve the profession of Exercise Physiology. Indeed, at a recent ASEP leadership workshop in Las Vegas, our Assistant Editor Jon Mike reported consensus that "With increased membership comes increased recognition and awareness from other exercise physiologists".


From political representation to being able to provide employers with a sizable pool of Board Certified applicants, numbers count.

Note that this Fall a concentrated membership drive (Nov/Dec 2010) will take place where members personally contact other exercise physiologists in their geographical region and invite them to join ASEP for 2011. We will particpate via the ASEP-Newsletter as the time arrives.


Lonnie Lowery, PhD

ASEP-Newsletter Editor 

Ask the EP 
Muscle Stem Cells, Ethics and Exercise Sciences?
Q: Could you highlight both Pro and Con arguments while examining ethical theories, moral principles, and exercise related components pertinent to the future of health and disease?

A: Muscle stem cells, although banned in many countries and controlled by others, has incredible hope to decrease human suffering. The issue of human stem cell use to assist in tissue repair and regeneration has very significant implications for muscle repair following exercise-induced damage, injury, and disease. Injecting stem cells directly into the tissue, would assist the 'endogenous' stem cells, satellite cells, in the muscle repair and regeneration process, or perhaps replace several defective cells, as seen in diseases such as muscular dystrophy. Evidence shows that several different cell types of nonmuscle origins can give rise to muscle cells in vivo, including connective tissue cells, myofibroblasts, and vascular endothelial cells (Grounds 2000).

There has been a tremendous amount of interest in investigating the contribution of various muscle stem cell populations in regenerating skeletal muscle. It is well established that the myogenic progenitor cells, also known as muscle satellite cells, which are largely responsible in the formation of muscle strength and hypertrophy (Hawke 2005), in addition to repair of muscle. Moreover, these satellite cells fuse to existing myofibrils (muscle cells) by donating their nuclei, thereby enhancing regeneration, and a formation of a new myofiber. Therefore, this process is increased primarily during the recovery period of exercise involving strength training.

Using human embryos to gain potential for human life raises more questions than answers. Ethical principles and morality play a pivotal role in determining the future of humankind. Does such a tiny cell deserve the same moral and status of a living, breathing human? Is it ethically sound, and what are the important connections for future disease and/or disability? This article will highlight both Pro and Con arguments while examining ethical theories, moral principles, and exercise related components pertinent to the future of health and disease.


            Human muscle stem cells are early "universal" cells with the potential to form virtually any somatic cell (any cell forming the body of an organism) in the human body (Jungest 2000). If research continues, scientists could be able to differentiate  those universal cells into specific types, such as  the emergence of new neurons (nerve cells) responsible for neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease, in addition to new pancreatic cells for diabetic patients, and innovative cardiac muscle for hearts (Wright 1999).  Wright (1999) also explains the notion that human stem cells "could be grown as universal graft tissue for blood, bone marrow, lung, liver, kidney, tendons, ligaments, muscle, skin, hair, teeth, the retina and lens of the eye; the possibilities are endless" (pg 361). It seems that stem cells promise revolutionary advances to science and technology that help alleviate human suffering. However, many governments hamper it with via strict regulations or even banning it completely.

 Interestingly in the United States, there is a broad ban on federal funding for human stem cells, unless federally stem cell lines are used (Drazen 2004) As emphasized in the editorial in Lancet (2004), "banning this work will deny thousands of individuals the chance to live a comfortable life" (pg 113-14).

Many ethical questions must be discussed from multiple view points and theories in order to understand keys concepts of human stem cells. For example, will it help more people than it hurts? Is it for the greater good? Is it really a person or just a life form? Although there may not be an absolute answer, we can discuss these from various ethical perspectives. One approach is to do what is morally right because it is right, regardless of any developing consequence(s), hence the deontological approach. The other is to maximize good and minimize harm so the greatest possible good is attained for the greatest number of people, hence the Utilitarian approach. However, a confounding ethical issue of the deontological method is: Is it right to use human stem cells, which offers enormous capabilities for human life, with no regard to that potential? In contrast, the Utilitarian approach is: are we obligated to do whatever is necessary to ease the millions of people who are suffering? Appreciably, understanding moral principles is crucial for the understanding of the human stem cell. From a Divine Command approach, God created man, and if God commands it, then it is right. Therefore, we have every right to create cloned embryos and stem cells as well.

The question is whether a human embryo constitutes a human person. According to Kant's theory we should always treat people as ends and not means to an end. However, we at times, use people as means, but we should acknowledge their dignity as human beings.

Practically, this means using human subjects for research protocols, but only after informing them concerning potential benefits and/or risks, and following the informed consent process. Subsequently, does this apply to the human stem cell? If we determine the human embryo is a person, then yes, it has all the same rights that living, breathing humans have, and we should give equal importance and treatment to that human. However, if they do have moral status, there may be limitations on how we treat them. Specifically, the limitations on how embryos are created. Therefore, research must consider any alternatives and their potential benefits.


            With the present state of technology, it helpful to point out the creation of a human embryonic stem cell line requires the destruction of a human embryo. Here in lies the main argument against stem cell research. First, embryonic stem cell research infringes upon and violates the sanctity of life and is therefore equal to that of murder. Second, the fundamental assertion of those who oppose embryonic stem cell research is the belief that human life is unbreakable and resilient, due to the fact that human life begins at conception. In contrast with the Pro side, some believe embryos are not humans, that the life of Homo sapiens only begins when the heartbeat develops, which is during the 5th week of pregnancy, or when the brain begins developing activity, which has been detected at 54 days after conception. (Singer 1996).

According to Kant's theory of human dignity, it would immoral to harm or violate in any shape or form something that has potential for human life, even though it may alleviate the suffering of millions. From this approach, the embryo, thus stem cells have no moral status or significance. Therefore, we are not obligated to provide any special consideration, and are open to do whatever we want.

In addition, one ethical dilemma concerning stem cell research is the merging of embryonic stem cell and cloning technologies, "leading to generation of an embryo that is a genetic clone of the donor of the nucleus" (Biotechnologies online 2005). Along these line is the use of stem cells to generate tissue for transplantation. The individual's immune system would detect these cells as invaders and attack, and the insufficient immune response would pose a threat in all transplant therapies (Biotechnologies online 2005).

Assuming that it is morally wrong to destroy human embryos, based on the discussion above, are stem cell researchers morally responsible for the destruction of embryos engaging in a wrong act? One response is that a "researcher who benefits from the destruction of embryos need not sanction the act any more than the transplant surgeon who uses the organs of a murder or drunken driving victim sanctions the homicidal act" (Curzer 2004).



1). Grounds, M.D, White, J.D; Rosenthal. N; & Bogoyevitch. M.A. (2002). The role of stem cells in skeletal and cardiac muscle repair. Journal of Histochemistry  and Cytochemistry. 50(5):589-610. Review

2). Hawke, T.J. (2005). Muscle stem cells and exercise training. Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews, 33(2):63-8. Review

3). Juengst, E. & Fossel. M. (2000). The ethics of embryonic stem cells--now and forever, cells without end. Journal of American Medical Association, 27; 284(24):3180-4.

4). Wright, S.J. (1999). Human embryonic stem cell research: science and ethics. American Scientist. 87:352-361

5). Drazen JM.  (2004). Embryonic stem-cell research--the case for federal funding.New England Journal of Medicine.  21; 351(17):1789-90.

6). Singer, Peter. (1996). Rethinking life & death: the collapse of our traditional ethics. St. Martins Press.

7). Biotechnologies Online (2005). Ethics in Stem Cell Research.

Jonathan Mike, MS, CSCS, USAW, NSCA-CPT,
Doctoral Student, Assistant Editor
Advertisements & Announcements

Opportunities Related to Exercise Physiology

Community Announcement: Iron has issued a call for brief submissions from EP students or professionals interested in getting their first involvement in legitimate Internet / pod casting settings. Opinions on professional issues or micro reviews and recent research are welcomed. Students' audio submissions (see National Public Radio (NPR]) and / or the Iron web site for examples) will be editor-reviewed by ASEP-Newsletter Editors Dr. Lonnie Lowery and Jonathan Mike. The submissions should be 300-500 word essays read aloud and recorded with Windows Sound Recorder or similar software and sent via email to Iron is not ASEP-affiliated.

The Department of Kinesiology at the University of New Hampshire... is currently seeking applicants for a tenure track appointment in Exercise Science at the Assistant or Associate Professor level. ...more information...
NOTE: ASEP Board of Directors with approval of The Center for Exercise Physiology-online developed the "EPC Petition Guidelines" for doctorate exercise physiologists to become Board Certified.

Thank you for perusing our opinions, facts and opportunities in this edition of the ASEP-Newsletter.

Lonnie Lowery
American Society of Exercise Physiologists

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