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Byline: Rick Weiss
Ronald Reagan's death from Alzheimer's disease Saturday has triggered an outpouring of support for human embryonic stem cell research. Building on comments made by Nancy Reagan last month, scores of senators on Monday called upon President Bush to loosen his restrictions on the controversial research, which requires the destruction of human embryos. Patient groups have also chimed in, and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) on Tuesday added his support for a policy review.
It is the kind of advocacy that researchers have craved for years, and none wants to slow its momentum.
But the infrequently voiced reality, stem cell experts confess, is that, of all the diseases that may someday be cured by embryonic stem cell treatments, Alzheimer's is among the least likely to benefit.
"I think the chance of doing repairs to Alzheimer's brains by putting in stem cells is small," said stem cell researcher Michael Shelanski, co-director of the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain at …