The Double Life of Dr. Lawrence A. Hansen

Dr. Lawrence A. Hansen has a double life he is proud to publicize in his writings and interviews.

On one hand, he is a neuroscientist at one of the finest institutions in the country — the University of California at San Diego.  On the other hand, he is a member and a mouthpiece for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

PeTA, of course, is an animal rights organization that holds the view that all living beings have the same basic right to life and freedom. A corollary of this position is that  animals cannot be used by humans in any way, including their use in scientific research designed to advance human health and medical knowledge.

Dr. Lawrence Hansen regularly attends the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, where he joins his PeTA colleagues in order to protest the organization’s stated goal of broadening support for animal research.”

He has  written numerous opinion pieces (for example, here, here and here) asserting with confidence that animal research will not lead to any advancements in human health, that the experiments are unnecessary because they can be conducted in human volunteers, and that the treatment of the animals in our nation’s laboratories amount to torture.

Image

Dr. Lawrence Hansen (left) demonstrating at the Society for Neuroscience meeting. He is accompanied by PeTA’s Justin Goodman (right).

Dr. Hansen is wrong on all counts.

Animal research has contributed widely to human healthMultiple layers ensure the welfare of animals during experimentation. Methods do not exist today that would allow scientists to study the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying disease in human volunteers non-invasively. This is what is really required to understand the evolution of a disease in a living organism and how we can interfere with its development. Indeed, a recent poll by the journal Nature revealed that nearly 92% of scientists agree with the statement “animal research is essential to the advancement of biomedical science.”  The  fact is that there are no current alternatives — otherwise, they would be used.  This is the reason the scientific consensus on the topic is nothing short of overwhelming.

Being wrong is just one problem with Dr. Hansen.  The other is the level of hypocrisy required for a scholar like him to criticize animal research while simultaneously being involved in the work.  Specifically, Dr. Hansen is a co-author in animal studies that use transgenic mice to model Alzheimer’s disease in humans: here, here, here and here.

Justification for all these studies relies on the notion that one can model the disease in mice in ways that might be relevant to human patients — an idea that Dr. Hansen rejects vociferously.  Was authorship on these studies forced upon him?

Perhaps Dr. Hansen will argue that he played a minor role in these studies, merely providing resources and reagents for the studies?  This seems unlikely, as at least in one instance Dr. Hansen’s role is listed as having “conceived and designed the experiments.”

All these articles list the Neuropathology Core grant (NIH P50 AG005131), of which Dr. Hansen is the responsible Principal Investigator, as partly funding them.  In other words, Dr. Hansen’s own federal grant has funded the animal research he presumably opposes.  (Incidentally, as far as we can tell, the Aims of the grant do not include any animal research.)

Perhaps Dr. Hansen approves only of work with mice but not in other species? If so, it seems he fails to understand the concept of “animal rights.”  The notion that all living beings have a right to live free from all human intervention would render his own work ethically wrong as well.  Or does PeTA make an exception for his mice work?  Maybe membership has its privileges?

Perhaps Dr. Hansen thinks that for some magic reason his work with mice is guaranteed to translate to humans, while findings in other species will not?  One wonders if there something magical about the biology of mice?  If mice can be used to model human disease, why couldn’t other animals? However, it doesn’t seem that Dr. Hansen holds mice work in high regard.  Last year, in an interview, he stated:

“the amoral scientific problem with using rodents as models for neurodegenerative diseases is that rodents do not naturally develop Alzheimer disease or Parkinson`s disease. The only way to get what looks even a little like AD or PD pathology in rats and mice is to make them transgenic — that is, to insert human disease causing genes into the rodents. This does create a Frankenstein-like mutant model with some expression of AD or PD pathology which can be manipulated to make it go away. But reversing artificially induced AD or PD changes in animals that never naturally develop them is a far cry from curing the human diseases. The “cures” that work in the rodents have never worked when applied to humans. 

[...] The species differences that have evolved over millions of years make animal models largely useless, except for the purposes of enhancing scientific careers and attracting lots of grant money.”

If this represents his scientific opinion, why in the world would he participate and fund the very same “unnecessary” experiments that create “Frankenstein-like” animals? Perhaps Dr. Hansen thinks his transgenic animals are under good care and condition, while the other ones down the hall that belong a colleague are being tortured instead?

Perhaps Dr. Hansen believes his studies are restricted to some basic biological process of Alzheimer’s that has no consequence for the human condition?  But then, how would he justify the use of animals?  And why would he write that his work “supports the possibility that modulators of the autophagy pathway might provide potential therapeutic effects.”  Therapeutic effect for mice but not humans?   Again this seems unlikely, as stated that mice do not develop AD or PD pathology naturally, and thus are not in need of any therapeutics.

The fact is that the justification behind his work can be found in the Introduction and Discussion sections within the very same articles he co-wrote.  Dr. Hansen and his co-authors explain, for example, that:

It is important to note that neurogenesis persists in the aged brain; however, its rate declines with increasing age, as revealed by previous studies in rodents (Kuhn et al., 1996Kempermann et al., 1998), nonhuman primates (Gould et al., 1999), and humans (Cameron and McKay, 1999). Despite this natural decline with age, previous studies have shown that the adult brain remains responsive to therapeutic interventions that enhance neurogenesis (Jin et al., 2003Wise, 2003). Understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in AD-related alterations in neurogenesis might help guide the development of new therapies in this direction. 

This is one of several passages illustrating the synergy between human, mouse and in vitro techniques in biomedical research, and highlights the similarities between development of the human disease and its recapitulation in animals models of AD.  These are the very same scientific facts he denies and renounces in his interviews, OpEds, and PeTA demonstrations.

It would be worth for Dr. Hansen to dedicate some effort in justifying his own work with animals, studying a little bit more about the contributions of animal research to human health, and dedicating less of his time demonizing his colleagues for the wrong reasons.

Speaking of Research

Update: There is more discussion going on at DrugMonkey’s blog as well.

29 responses to “The Double Life of Dr. Lawrence A. Hansen

  1. Good job! Thanks for writing this.

  2. What is he thinking!? Has he been forwarded this article because it would be good to see his response! Is he just trying to protect himself from being a target of PETA by making such ridiculous remarks!? Dear me Hansen, dear me

  3. I think it’s useful to take a look at the whole discussion section from the 2010 PLoS one paper http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0009313 where Hansen was involved in designing the experiments and from which the sentence ” “supports the possibility that modulators of the autophagy pathway might provide potential therapeutic effects.” was quoted.

    The whole conclusion section shows just how important studies in GM mice were to this work, both in the research that this paper reports and other studies that are cited in the discussion, providing important information that could not be obtained from clinical studies (though of course clinical studies are also crucial). It is somewhat ironic that Hansen claims that animal models are not useful in research, while his own research – in this paper and many others – shows precisely the opposite.

    Note AD=Alzheimer’s disease, PD=Parkinson’s disease, DLB=Dementia with Lewy bodies

    “Discussion:
    Recent evidence in cell-based models of PD-like pathology indicate that alterations in lysosomal functioning and autophagy might participate in the mechanisms of α-syn-mediated neurodegeneration [23], [29], [35], [36], [37], [38], [39]. However it was unclear which molecular components of the autophagy pathway might be dysregulated in the brains of patients with DLB/PD and in α-syn tg models. For the present study we chose investigate potential alterations in components of autophagy in DLB cases (rather than pure PD) because after AD, these cases represent the most common form of dementia and movement disorders in the aging population and display widespread cortical and subcortical pathology.

    Remarkably, we found that in DLB cases and in α-syn tg mice levels of mTor were elevated and Atg7 expression was reduced. mTor and LC3 was co-localized with neurons displaying α-syn accumulation and neurodegenerative changes. This is of interest because it provides a potential alternative explanation for the molecular alterations in autophagy in sporadic forms of LBD. mTor and Atg7 are early initiators of the macroautophagy pathway. Inhibition of mTor by nutrient reduction or by activation of PI3K results in activation of the Atg kinase 1 that in turn phosphorylates Atgs that participate in the AV formation [71], [72], [73].

    The mechanisms through which increased mTor and reduced Atg7 might participate in the neuropathology of DLB are not completely clear. However, such alterations are predicted to result in deficient initiation of the autophagy process. This in turn might result in progressive accumulation of α-syn aggregates that further interfere with the fusion of lysosomes and formation of autophagosomes, as has been suggested by other studies [23], [40], [41]. This may then lead to the formation of enlarged and atypical AV-like structures [42]. Supporting this possibility, the present study also showed that the cortical neurons in DLB cases and in α-syn tg mice contained enlarged lysosomes and autophagosomes similar to those described in AD [33]. The formation of such abnormal AV-like structures in DLB and α-syn tg mice is consistent with recent reports in neuronal cells lines overexpressing α-syn [42]. These cells show the presence of granular α-syn aggregates that co-localize with abnormally enlarged LC3-positive structures [42]. The accumulation of α-syn and the neurodegenerative phenotype in neuronal cells was reverted by activation of the autophagy pathway with a gene therapy approach delivering Beclin-1 with a lentivirus [42] or with rapamycin [42], [74], [75]. In agreement with these findings, the present study showed in vivo that infusion of rapamycin or injection of LV-Atg7 into the brains of tg mice reduced the accumulation of α-syn and was neuroprotective. This is consistent with previous in vivo studies showing that rapamycin is neuroprotective in models of neurodegeneration [76], [77], AD [78] and Huntington’s Disease [79], [80]. Moreover, a recent study showed that blocking mTor by overexpression of the translation inhibitor Thor (4E-BP) can reduce the pathologic features in PD models, including degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in Drosophila [81]. Moreover, rapamycin activates in vivo 4E-BP and rapamycin is also capable of ameliorating the pathology associated with mutations in other PD associated genes such as Pink1 and parkin [81].

    In familial types of parkinsonism, mutant forms of α-syn [23] have been shown to disrupt lysosomal clearance by blocking CMA. Further supporting a role for lysosomal dysfunction in DLB and PD, recent studies have shown that in lysosomal storage disorders such as Gaucher disease [43], [44] and Niemann-Pick disease [45], there is increased predisposition to develop parkinsonism and α-syn accumulation. Other animal studies in models of PD, such as in animals exposed to the neurotoxin 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydro-pyr​idine(MPTP), have also revealed autophagic dysfunction associated with alterations in signal transduction pathways [82]. In addition, increased susceptibility to develop PD appears to be associated with polymorphisms in lysosomal genes such as those associated with Gaucher disease and Niemann-Pick disease. Moreover, recent studies have shown that reduced Cathepsin D expression results in α-syn accumulation and degeneration of the dopaminergic system in experimental models and in patients with PD [83]. Cathepsin D is now considered one of the main lysosomal enzymes involved in α-syn degradation [84] and overexpression of Cathepsin D reduces the pathology associated with α-syn accumulation [85].

    Selective alterations in molecular components of the autophagy pathway might result in degeneration of specific neuronal populations in neurological disorders. For example, previous studies have shown that in sporadic AD there is a profound reduction in the levels of Beclin-1 [34], while the neurodegenerative process in familial forms of fronto-temporal dementia and ALS has been linked to mutations in charged multivesicular body protein-2B (CHMP2B) [86], [87], [88], and in Huntington’s Disease polyglutamate aggregates trap mTor and disrupt autophagy [80].

    The mechanisms through which levels of mTor might be upregulated and Atg7 downregulated in DLB and α-syn tg mice are not completely clear. However, targeted reduction of autophagy genes including Atg7 results in behavioral defects, including abnormal limb-clasping reflexes and a reduction in coordinated movement, and died within 28 weeks of birth. Furthermore, Atg7 deficiency results in neurodegeneration of the cerebral and cerebellar cortices [89].

    In conclusion, this study supports the notion that selective molecular alterations in the autophagy pathway and more specifically in mTor and Atg7 are associated with DLB and α-syn tg models and supports the possibility that modulators of the autophagy pathway might have potential therapeutic effects.”

  4. This is a brilliant exposition of the duplicity of one of the most influential mouthpieces of the animal rights movement. Bravo!!!!

  5. Pretty, sad he clearly hasn’t made peace with the it’s not nice/it’s essential cognitive dissonance that all scientists doing animal research have. If he’s so sure of the superiority of human studies maybe he should shift his work in that direction or some other ‘replacement’ strategy. Unless PETA provide him with some other inducement that makes the status quo more attractive?

  6. Neither do I know dr Hansen nor his work. However, I am sure he will not need my support being very well capable to explain himself.
    On the contrary I should like to point to a few mistakes mr Darioringach is making.

    Pretending that animal research has contributed to human health is correct. However, it does not imply that if there had been no animal research these contributions would not have been made. The statement is meaningless.

    “Multiple layers ensure the welfare of animals during experimentation.”
    Is that to say that animals enjoy experimentation?!
    The statement is too ridiculous for words.
    The “welfare” of these animals is not only captivity, it is also anxiety and pain; it is torture – ending up in death.

    “Methods do not exist to-day” etc.
    Let’s for the moment accept this statement as correct, so what does it mean?
    It means nothing else that what is not possible to-day might be possible to-morrow – if only we work on it!

    ***

    The statements on animal research by dr Hansen himself, I fully agree with. Note especially the quote from an interview dating from last year.

    Alzheimers disease is almost inevatible a disease of the old aged.

    Since Alois Alzheimer died in 1915, hardly any progress has been made in this field. However, it has cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of animals.

    Indelible shame on mankind.

    • Barend, I must disagree. Most notably with your last statement that hardly any progress has been made in field of Alzheimer’s disease research. Animal models have provided an understanding to many different mechanism involved in this disease. There is not a complete understanding but drug development and safety testing has provided significant increases in quality of quantity of life. Do we have an animal model for AD that is identical to human AD – no. Does that mean we should ignore the suffering of these patients and deny them and their loved ones the additional months/years these therapies currently provide – certainly not. In my opinion this is substantial progress. I don’t believe the promise of “Maybe tomorrow” would give them much comfort today.

    • Neither do I know dr Hansen nor his work. However, I am sure he will not need my support being very well capable to explain himself.

      I sincerely hope he offers explanations.

      Pretending that animal research has contributed to human health is correct.

      There is no pretending… it is a fact.

      However, it does not imply that if there had been no animal research these contributions would not have been made. The statement is meaningless.

      In some instances, after you reach the peak of a mountain, you can see other paths that may lead to it. The same applies to research as well. The question is if anyone can see concrete, scientific viable ways to study the molecular and cellular basis of disease in humans with today’s tools. The answer is simply no. For Dr. Hansen or anyone else to suggest otherwise is simply wrong.

      Is that to say that animals enjoy experimentation?! The statement is too ridiculous for words.

      No, that is to say that regulations and guidelines are in place that recognize our moral duty to ensure anesthetics and analgesics are used whenever possible to alleviate any pain or suffering, that a minimum number of animals are used, that only the simplest possible organism are used, and that the studies proposed stand a good chance to advance knowledge and medical science. As for animals “enjoying” experimentation, nobody said such a thing.

      It means nothing else that what is not possible to-day might be possible to-morrow – if only we work on it!

      That’s right. And we are working on it. And the work demands validation with animals too. So yes… one day, there will not be any more animal research, thanks to the work of scientists. But one cannot end such work prematurely as demanded by opponents of animal research.

      Alzheimers disease is almost inevatible a disease of the old aged.

      I presume you never heard of early onset Alzheimer’s? Look it up. In any case, the problem is that science has demonstrated over and over that we can challenge nature and come up with therapies and cures to many diseases. Your defeatist position is incongruent with scientific history and values.

  7. @Michael Brunt: “I don’t believe the promise of “Maybe tomorrow” would give them much comfort today.”
    There you are right. However I disagree with you that to-day there is a cure to offer these patients.
    Little or no results after over 100 years of animal testing. Neither are the prospects promising. > Please don’t blame it on the animals! <

    You write: " Does that mean we should ignore the suffering of these patients and deny them and their loved ones the additional months/years these therapies currently provide."

    Counter question: Should we ignore the suffering of these animals and deny them a free and happy life – short as it may be anyway?

    Please take off your blinders and see the full picture.

    • I did not state there was a cure for AD. I said animal research has provided an understanding to develop therapies increasing both the quality and quantity of life for those suffering from the disease. By the logic you have presented people with HIV shouldn’t take antiretrovirals and children shouldn’t be vaccinated because there are no cures for these diseases.
      We most certainly cannot ignore any suffering of any animal, human or non-human. I know many humans and non-humans that are debilitated by disease and some that have died. Have you ever been into a research facility or palliative care facility to see first hand what you profess to know about suffering? I wear no blinders.

  8. Pingback: The naked chutzpah and hypocrisy of an AR wackaloon | DrugMonkey

  9. @Michael Brunt: I do not understand what’s the point of your question if I ever have been etc.
    I have family, relatives, friends. I am not a lone wolf.

    Furthermore, you beat about the bush.
    The point is first that dr Hansen in the cited quote is correct. Animals are at best a poor model for human medical research.*
    I do not read your confirmation.

    Second, what have animals to do with the subject at all?! i.e. with ill people, with research?

    If your nation does not have enough volunteers for testing medicine, oblige the civilians to fulfill this civil duty.
    Compare military service in order to defend the nation.

    But please be reasonable and honourable and leave the animals out.

    See also:
    * Junhee Seok et al., ‘Genomic responses in mouse models poorly mimic human inflammatory diseases’ PNAS 2013 vol. 110 no. 9

  10. I have a few questions for darioringach.

    Dr Hansen is perjoratively described as a “mouthpiece” for PETA.
    Are you a “mouthpiece” for the vivisection industry?

    derioringach describes PETA as holding the view that all living beings have the same basic rights to life and freedom. As is customary,( and no doubt cognizant of the fact that his/her audience is exclusively human) darioringrach then moves right to the corollary in which it is asserted that research on animals is necessary for the improvement of the health and welfare of humans.

    dariorangrich, do you think that all living beings have the same basic rights to life and freedom?

    If not, why not?

    darioringrach goes on to point out that all sorts of steps and protocols are used to insure the minimal harm to animals used for research. nevertheless, he further suggests, even if harm does come to animals during research the benefit to humans outweighs this harm to non-humans.

    darioringrach, why is this so? It does not appear to be a moral or ethical argument. It appears to be one of selfishness, of dealing from a position of power. Can you explain to me why that appearance is invalid?

    darioringrach, If the health and well-being of humans is the overarching reason for medical experiments on living beings, can you explain why medical experimentation on “lesser” humans to benefit “greater” humans is not done?

    Is it (experimentation on humans) an ethical or moral prohibition? Or is it just a case of you’ll never get away with it?

    darioringrach – and anyone else, for that matter – if you mean to state that experimentation on non-human animals is appropriate because humans are superior to non-humans and the needs of humans outweigh the needs of non-humans to avoid torture, pain and disease inflicted by humans: then just say so, without all the jibbery style oinkery about human medical advancement being the highest achievement of mankind and “what about the children” and so on.

    Oh, and when you do just say so, feel free to justify it in scientific terms ( Man of Science that you are, no doubt) or alternately; in religious terms, as befits one o’ Gawds chosen, eh?

    Lee C

    • Just a quick point… For many studies it would not be feasible to test on humans because of the long life span and time it takes to reproduce. You may even get the scientist retiring before the study is complete! If you wanted to look at something a couple of generations on are talking 60 years instead of the months/ 4 years when using zebra fish or mice (times approx obvs.) (And that is just one round of the study! You always want to make sure it can be repeated and get the same outcome (or repeat with an optimised version), so we are talking way over a century for human studies. And the study passing into other peoples hands isn’t always as good as if the testing was done by the same guy or gal). Also, and once again depending on the aspect you are researching, you want to decrease variability (so you know the changes are a result of the treatment or a particular gene and nothing else), I am sure you can see why that can be hard with humans, when we have species of mice and zebra Fish and drosophila which have been characterised to the highest standard while humans could have any number of genetic traits and illnesses (eg sporadic parkinsons diease) that could come up part way through your study compromising all the work done so far (To account for this we would have to use much, much, much larger subject numbers because humans have a lot of health issues that can crop up over a lifetime (and you would want to check over a lifetime) but still this is not as ideal or as efficient as having a characterised model where you know where you stand). SO it is a case of use x number of mice vs (x times 10) number of humans.

      Mutating genes (like silencing the faulty disease gene) to see if that can ‘cure’ the disease AND see if it is a heritable trait is much more easily optimised and tested in our animal models, not to mention decades quicker to see the result. One can test more options and importantly discard those which won’t work as early as possible, so we don’t waste centuries of time and huge amounts of money on something that could have been found faulty in just a few years, and that research could have gone into something with more promise!

      ANd not that expense should be an issue but it matters. As it is, animal testing is hugely expensive, if there is another non-animal option you take it and save huge amounts of money for a probably faster job (besides it is illegal to test on animals if there is a non-animal option). Testing human subjects to the same standard as animal subjects (forgetting for the moment how it isn#t really feasible), well, the costs would be absurd.

      But before it is said ‘tests on humans occur anyway (phase 1/3 clinical trials) lets do more of this’, it is very different type of testing at the first stages of development when we have a less clear idea of if it will work and the outcomes, esp if manipulating genes. A lot more work.

      hmmm, maybe that wasn’t so quick in the end… in summary humans vs animals the factors are: time, numbers of subjects, cost, efficiency, reproducibility and reliability. ANyhoo, the answer isn’t about testing on humans instead, the answer is to – in parallel with all the research that is currently going on, we also will find more efficient non-animal methods, which is in fact exactly the state of play at the moment anyway.

    • Speaking of Research is a small group of scientists, students, animal technicians, and members of the public that gathered to defend work we believe to be important to society and ethically permissible. We do not work for any “industry”. This is who we are:

      http://speakingofresearch.com/about/committee/

      No, I don’t think all living beings deserve equal moral consideration or that they have the same basic rights to life and freedom. I do not consider that we owe the same moral consideration to a scallop and to a human child. Do you? I am an animal welfarist.

      As for why… and why not experiment on “lesser humans.” we wrote about this many times.

      See for example,

      http://speakingofresearch.com/2012/03/09/the-morality-of-inaction-reframing-the-debate/

      http://speakingofresearch.com/2012/04/12/objections-to-the-marginal-case-argument/

      http://speakingofresearch.com/2012/09/12/the-moral-relevance-of-human-intelligence/

      http://speakingofresearch.com/2011/12/06/the-gorgons-visit-earth/

      And finally, did you ask the same questions to Dr. Hansen? Or you are Ok with him doing animal research?

  11. >>> susan: Thank you for your reply. I must (sheepishly) admit that I did not plod through the entire body of it as I quickly observed that it wasn’t germane to my original post. Notwithstanding the fascinating lifecycle of the Zebra fish, I was asking darioringach why he holds the view that it is acceptable to conduct medical experiments on non-human animals to benefit human animals. Don’t feel badly that you didn’t actually respond to my post: neither did darioringach.

    Now, to the estimable Dario (may I call you Dario?).

    “Speaking of Research is a small group of scientists, students, animal technicians, and members of the public that gathered to defend work we believe to be important to society and ethically permissible. We do not work for any “industry”.”

    Fair enough. The activity that you are gathered to defend is variously known as animal experimentation or – sometimes – vivisection. Are you a “mouthpiece” for a gathering of folks that support this activity, in the same pejorative sense that you described Dr. Hansen as a “mouthpiece” for PETA?

    (Disclosure: I do not know Dr. Hansen nor had I ever heard of him before now. Not knowing anything about him, I have no opinion of him one way or the other. Additionally, I am not a member or supporter of PETA, although I do like their ads with the nekkid chicks: I’ll try to not let that color my judgment).

    “No, I don’t think all living beings deserve equal moral consideration or that they have the same basic rights to life and freedom.”

    I know that. It is the basis of your article(s). Rather than answer my question to you – “If not, why not?” – you beg the question. Are you able to answer this or not?

    ” I do not consider that we owe the same moral consideration to a scallop and to a human child. Do you?”

    Interesting question, Dario ( did we establish whether I may call you Dario? I hope so!).
    And if I was a “mouthpiece” for a small group of scientists, students, etc,, that gathered to advocate for obtaining the same rights for scallops as those enjoyed by human children then it would also be a pertinent question.
    But I am not and it is not. You, my dear Dario, posted the article to which I responded and queried. It is incumbent on you to either answer, ignore or dissemble. You chose the later.
    Let me pose a question in the same patronizing tone that you used on me: if we agree that henceforth, scallops are morally bankrupt and are, thus, not eligible for protection from medial experimentation can we then agree to experiment only on scallops? Sacrifice the scallops for the good of all animals!!

    As for the “lesser human” phrase which I will assume you failed to identify as a secondary rhetorical statement meant to elicit some sort of considered, reasoned response to the larger question of why you believe that human animal considerations outweigh all other considerations (and – no surprise here – you evaded any such response): I’ll certainly read the suggested Speaking of Research Articles, with interest.
    Nevertheless, the question seems to be a very simple one, requiring simple answers: Why do you, Dario (my friend Dario!!) believe that human animals are superior to all other animals, to the point that conducting sometimes painful experiments on said animals is not only justified but is mandatory?

    “And finally, did you ask the same questions to Dr. Hansen? Or you are Ok with him doing animal research?”

    O, Dario!! (Perhaps we are not such first name friends after all?)
    Oh, darioringach (There! That’s better.)
    I didn’t ask the same questions of Dr. Hansen because he didn’t post this article: you did.
    And I am OUTRAGED! and IRATE! and HORRIFIED! and RENDING MY GARMENTS and so on about the alleged medical experiments being conducted by Dr. Hansen. I’m pissed, I tells ya.
    I am also gonna have to take your allegations at face value as I know nothing about Dr. Hansen except to note that you made these allegations while suggesting that I should ask Dr. Hansen the questions that you declined to respond to directly.

    Really, darioringach ( remember when it was Dario?).
    Did you expect me to fall for that?
    What are you, a GTA?

    Cordially, Lee C

    • PS my message was meant to be a new comment not a ‘reply’ to you Lee. Although after re-reading your previous Message surely it did answer one of our questions (your questions at the end)… paraphrasing you said ‘why don’t People test on humans (we do but…) is it ethical reasons or just because it is not allowed’ – I answered the reasons why and why not…). And, so following that, your categorisation of people into ‘lesser’ / ‘greater’ and testing on certain ones is irrelevant for the reasons I mentioned, it isn’t about that. (eg this Message also only has a ‘reply’ box but in this case it is!)

      And the reason ‘why’ (the ‘why’ I am picking, (because you ask a few whys, all which call for slightly different answers, which may be the reason you think you aren#t being answered when in fact you are, just to a different one of your questions) is why is it justified) my view is do the ends justify the means. If a cure can be found for a disease or improve quality of life for many, many people and animals (vetinary science) not just living now but indefinitely into the future for a finite number of animal lives, what will turn into comparatively an extremely small number over the centuries, I think is justified. Do I think we need to work on finding non animal methods too? Of course, naturlich.

      But if you want why’s within why’s (similar to the film inception), well in the end it comes to because that is what I believe to be right after weighing it all up. (eg why do you think all animals have the same rights as humans? (if you do) but after you answer it add a why to the answer, then another and you may find that you just believe that to be what is right… rhetorical question though, no need to answer that at all, it is completely besides the point of the article on Hansen)

      Although I think this thread is drifting from the article on Hansen’s two sides and becoming about the individuals opinions on a more general subject, an ‘I’m right, you’re wrong, it’s a shame you exist (that is Barend for you)’, general forum which exists everywhere, on every subject, all over the internet. I just passed one talking about the legalisation of cannabis and the people on that were have full on warfare. There are no winners when it gets like that.

      • Thank you, Susan for your reply ( however inadvertent) to my comments and questions!

        As to the issue of me seeming to be concerned about my “questions” going unanswered, I assure you, that is not the case. I had no expectation that darioringrach would actually address the issues I raised and I was correct in that expectation.

        Moreover, you have perhaps missed that notwithstanding what appears to be many slightly different questions, I asked only one basic question, albeit in more than one fashion, to wit: What is the basis of holding the viewpoint that conducting painful, sometimes lethal experiments on non-human animals is morally, ethically justified?

        darioringach understands perfectly well that this is the only somewhat rhetorical question of pertinence that I placed on the table. Thus, his pointed avoidance in answering this.

        As to the points you raised about the question that you “picked” to answer, I would acknowledge that you have described a hoped-for outcome but you have not stated why the means to this outcome – animal experimentation – is morally or ethically justified.

        It is my position that knowledge one’s own beliefs on an issue are not necessary for another to be able to defend their position: you – and darioringach – should be able to defend your stated positions no matter what I believe.

        Nevertheless, in response to your question – “why do you think all animals have the same rights as humans?” – I could respond that no one has ever demonstrated a morally valid and ethically acceptable reason why that should not be so and absent any such reason, it is morally repugnant and ethically unacceptable to conduct painful medical experiments – on animals or humans – for no acceptable reason.

        I acknowledge (with some measure of discomfort) that you did identify the necessity of preferring animal experimentation over human experimentation as one of economic value and a faster return on investment with less spoilage. I suppose if we could breed a human laboratory subject with the same consistencies in reponse and a more rapid reproductive cycle as alb rat, you would be happy to leave the critters alone and use the more accurate human model.

        Finally, you may very well be correct that this thread has quickly become diffused into more of a general commentary consisting of individual persons.
        If so, Susan, you need not have waited until my contributions to identify when that train went off the tracks: in darioringrach’s second paragraph, he characterizes Dr. Hansen as a “mouthpiece” for PETA, an organization which holds the same esteem in the minds of most of the contributors to this forum as Liberals do to the average Tea Party member.

        Once again, thanks for your considerate ( and cogent) comments concerning my post, Susan.

        SOME folks, including my once and future boon companion (you know who you are, “D” ! ) could profit from following your example.

        Cordially Lee Cee

      • You can read about my views here — http://ringachlab.net/lab/Welcome_files/ringach_ajms.pdf

        But I doubt you will, as you have already displayed intellectual laziness by completely ignoring the posts I suggested previously. It seems obvious you are not truly interested in understanding my views, but rather to rant and insult those you disagree with. I don’t have the patience nor time to engage with those that do not even make an honest effort to listen or read.

      • You may doubt al you want that I have read and am continuing to read the material that you suggested, darioringach.

        Nevertheless, I have read and continue to read the suggested material: what empirical evidence are you using to suggest that I am not – your vaunted “moral intuition? How “scientific” of you.

        Truthfully? To date, I find the stuff that I have read of yours overwhelmingly to be an exercise in sophistry. Much like your pseudo-responses to my commentary, you prefer to frame the debate in terms with which you feel comfortable. I only asked you a simple question, which you have yet to answer.

        Do you find that insulting?
        Is that before or after you refer to me as intellectually lazy?

        Or was it before or after you insult me by stating without any proof that I ignored your suggestions that I read the suggested (by you) material or accused me of ranting and insulting ( you, of course) or of failing to listen (to you) or read (about you).

        But enough about me.

        You end by referring to me with the unbelievably patronizing assertion that you “don’t have the patience nor time to engage with those that do not even make an honest effort to listen or read.”

        On that point, darioringach, and on that point alone: you are absolutely correct.
        Cordially,
        Lee C

      • Thank you, Susan for your reply (however inadvertent) to my comments and questions!
        As to the issue of me appearing to be concerned about my “questions” going unanswered, I assure you that is not the case. I had no expectation that darioringrach would actually address the issues I raised and I was correct in that expectation.
        Moreover, you have apparently missed that, notwithstanding what appears to be many slightly different questions, I asked only one basic question, albeit in more than one fashion. To wit: What is the basis of holding the viewpoint that conducting painful, sometimes lethal experiments on non-human animals is morally, ethically justified?
        darioringach understands perfectly well that this is the only question of pertinence that I placed on the table. Thus, his pointed avoidance in answering it.
        You asked me a question pertaining to my personal beliefs in animal rights as it pertains to animal experimentation. It is my position that knowledge of one o person’s own beliefs on an issue are not necessary for another to be able to defend their position: you – and darioringach – should be able to defend your stated positions no matter what I believe.
        Nevertheless, in response to your question – “why do you think all animals have the same rights as humans?” – I could respond that no one has ever demonstrated a morally valid and ethically acceptable reason why that should not be so and absent any such reason, it is morally repugnant and ethically unacceptable to conduct painful medical experiments – on animals or humans – for no acceptable reason.
        I acknowledge (with some measure of discomfort) that you did identify the necessity of preferring animal experimentation over human experimentation as one of economic value and a faster return on investment with less spoilage. I suppose if we could breed a human laboratory subject with the same consistencies in response and a more rapid reproductive cycle as a lab rat, you would be happy to leave the critters alone and use the more accurate human model.
        Finally, you may very well be correct that this thread has quickly become diffused into more of a general commentary consisting of individual persons.
        If so, Susan, you need not have waited until my contributions to identify when that train went off the tracks: in darioringrach’s second paragraph, he characterizes Dr. Hansen as a “mouthpiece” for PETA, an organization which holds the same esteem in the minds of most of the contributors to this forum as Liberals do to the average Tea Party member.
        Once again, thanks for your considerate (and cogent) comments concerning my post, Susan.
        SOME folks, including my once and future boon companion (you know who you are, “D”!) could profit from following your example.
        Cordially, Lee Cee

  12. The reply by mr Darioringach makes no sense at all – as also mr Lee Coddens makes clear. Funniest of course is the example of the scallop…

    The principle not understood by Darioringach is that in a civilised society experiments can only be accepted if there is consent. If one cannot express his/her will, then forced experimentation is not done, being unethical. Normally even against the law.
    No need to say that no one animal voluntarily offers his life for the sake of experimentation. Not even with treats.

    The case is in fact simple. If people like mr. Darioringach would only admit that they ARE barbarians, that they ARE uncivilised, that they ARE abusing power on animals, a.s.o., the case would be clear.
    It is a shame but these people exist: they are part of mankind. Even worse they still form – so far – a political majority.

    But they deny!
    They desire respect form other people, in stead of despise.
    They prefer to defend their dirty work. Their secret torture behind high walls.

    I do not know dr Hansen. I can only say that I hope he has turned his back on these (former?) colleagues, and nowadays applies his skills in a decent way.

  13. Can someone pls explain why his employer keeps a two faced Nelson like this on their payroll?

  14. Pingback: A Pathetic Defense of Dr. Lawrence Hansen | Speaking of Research

  15. Apparently, Hansen DOES believe that animal research can translate to humans. From a paper he co-authored in Nature Medicine, 2005, titled “A phase 1 clinical trial of nerve growth factor gene therapy for Alzheimer disease.” “This clinical trial was undertaken based on extensive preclinical studies, including primate studies, showing safety and efficacy of ex vivo NGF gene delivery in preventing cholinergic basal forebrain neuronal death and stimulating cell function (p. 551).” One wonders if he is involved in the Phase 2 clinical trial of NGF, one site of which is located in La Jolla: http://www.adcs.org/studies/ngf.aspx

    • Thanks. Very interesting… It is possible that only the research in which he participates has a real chance to translate to humans. Others are unscientific, unethical, and engage in animal research merely because of the financial reward. That makes perfect sense… Oh wait, no it doesn’t. Will he show up at SfN again this year?

  16. Pingback: Saving Life on Earth | Speaking of Research

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