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Mapping Stem Cell Research: Terra Incognita 

Stem-cell research (of many and varied types) was done a great and distorting disservice when it was made into an oversimplified symbolic battleground by the anti-abortion movement. The nature and use of the actual science has little to do with the media circus of talk radio blowhard Rush Limbaugh accusing (without any evidence) Michael J. Fox of manipulating the symptoms of Parkinson's disease in his testimony before Congress. Unfortunately, that's how the politics of the debate have played out. The science, potential medical benefits and ethical issues all deserve a fair and truthful debate. Terra Incognita delves into all those aspects as it follows neurologist Dr. Jack Kessler. When his daughter (pictured) was injured, he became interested in the use of stem cells to address spinal cord injuries. He also became an active public figure, discussing the research and the religious and ethical concerns (for both embryonic stem cells and the suffering of people with severe injuries and diseases). The film outlines the debate through 2006. Since then, scientists have discovered potential in certain skin cells. Some pundits have already spun this as making the embryonic stem-cell issue obsolete, but that pronouncement is regrettably premature given the early stages of that research. Free admission. -- Will Coviello

5 p.m. Sun., Jan. 6

Ashé Cultural Arts Center, 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., 569-9070; www.ahsecac.org

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