Kudos for clear communication

This post serves to recognize media outlets that clearly communicate the role of animal models in research advances. We will update it as we are able when new pieces are published.

June 2, 2022

The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (BBRF) continues its clear reporting of animal-based research with the article, “Maternal Sleep Apnea in Pregnancy Is Linked in Animal Model With Autism-like Behavioral Impacts in Offspring.” This article highlights the research led by Michael E. Cahill, PhD, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who developed a rat model of maternal sleep apnea. “Developing the animal model is important, since it is deemed unethical to allow a pregnancy to proceed in a human mother with SA without medical intervention,” the article describes.

Source: Janet Stephens/Wikimedia Commons

June 1, 2022

Yale University published an article, “Experimental drug reverses synaptic loss in mouse models of Alzheimer’s,” which describes research by Dr. Stephen Strittmatter and his colleagues that a new oral drug, Silent Allosteric Modulation or SAM (BMS-984923) restored connections between synapses in mice. The drug is now being tested in early-stage human clinical trials.

Source: stock.adobe.com

May 31, 2022

Speaking of Research commends the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (BBRF) for its most recent news article, which unequivocally recognizes the role of animal research — right upfront in the title! — in a new and exciting development in alcohol consumption research:

Source: BBRF

The article describes how lead researcher Kyle H. Flippo, PhD, at the University of Iowa, and his colleagues across the globe tested a molecule called FGF21 in vervet monkeys to see if it reduced alcohol intake in a free-choice drinking paradigm. This research followed prior work in rodent models, and was found to reduce alcohol consumption by half. The scientists show in their research that FGF21, as well as a synthetic analog they tested, specifically targeted a liver-to-brain regulatory circuit to reduce alcohol consumption in higher-order primates, thus underscoring its potential as a future treatment option for alcohol use disorder (AUD) in humans. The drug could also be used to treat diseases like cirrhosis, though the researchers noted that for both applications future research is needed.

Source: NIAAA

Nevertheless, this work is a crucial foundational step toward the development of a treatment for a disorder and related disease that affects over 14 million Americans. Most communications to the public do not so clearly communicate the critical animal research studies that lead to the development of such treatments, yet it is precisely this type of communication that is sorely needed. The general public, policymakers, and other stakeholders need to understand that this type of research is not only necessary, but also normal. They need to know where their medicines come from. By communicating so clearly and fearlessly, BBRF has helped this normalization. Kudos to BBRF — we hope that they will continue these types of clear communications and that other organizations will follow suit.

~Speaking of Research

Original research article:

Flippo et al., 2022, FGF21 suppresses alcohol consumption through an amygdalo-striatal circuit. Cell Metabolism, 34: 317-328. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2021.12.024

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