Understanding Animal Research has produced a fantastic video (below) showing Geoff Butcher, a Parkinson’s patient, going to a medical research laboratory to discuss some of the latest animal research models used to treat his disease. Parkinson’s affects over 120,000 people in the UK, and over 1 million people in the US, with many millions more touched by its effects through friends and family.
When some drug users in California taking a synthetic heroin they started to develop Parkinsonsonian-like symptoms. Further studies showed the chemical MPTP was responsible for this. This discovery has allowed scientists to use MPTP to create a better model for Parkinson’s. The added advantage of this model is that it is non-progressive, the animals’ Parkinsononian symptoms do not get worse over time. In the video it is remarked:
Geoff: They (the marmosets) actually seem quite happy
Scientist: They do. We think it’s a very good model because the animals are actually able to maintain themselves without any drug treatment
This allows the scientists to try and develop treatments for Parkinson’s disease without needing to recreate the full suffering that exists within human Parkinson’s patients.
You can check out more similar videos on UAR’s animal evidence Youtube page.