Bridging the gap: Monkey studies shed light on nature, nurture, and how experiences get under the skin

“Is it nature or nurture?” “How does that work? How can social experiences actually change someone’s brain?” “So early experiences matter, but how much?  Is it reversible? How long does it last? Is there a way to change the course?” All of these are popular questions that I hear from students, community members, clinicians, and … Continue reading Bridging the gap: Monkey studies shed light on nature, nurture, and how experiences get under the skin

Good, bad, useful? Reflections on animal models for Parkinson’s disease research

Parkinson’s disease is a relentless, ruthless neurodegenerative disorder that often strikes in the early “golden years”, around 60 years of age, but sometimes much earlier.  It progressively robs its victims of every capability that makes life enjoyable, from their ability to move, talk, eat by mouth, and in the worst cases, decreasing their cognitive abilities. … Continue reading Good, bad, useful? Reflections on animal models for Parkinson’s disease research

Animal Models of Dystonia – Part II

An invited post by Erwin Montgomery, M.D., and Michele A. Basso, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison. Based in part on some of the findings of altered learning in rodent models, a primate model of dystonia was developed. This model revealed that repetitive stimulation of fingers not normally stimulated together resulted in dystonic postures of the … Continue reading Animal Models of Dystonia – Part II

Animal Models of Dystonia – Part I

An invited post by Erwin Montgomery, M.D., and Michele A. Basso, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison. Dystonia is a neurological disorder of movement characterized by sustained muscle contractions affecting one or more sites of the body. Dystonia frequently causes twisting and repetitive movements and abnormal postures resulting in relentless pain. If dystonia affects one part … Continue reading Animal Models of Dystonia – Part I

Predictions and Animal Models of Human Disease

Some animal activists argue human disease cannot be modeled in animals.  They think physiological differences between species imply that treatments developed by means of animal research will not translate to humans. Prediction through the development of models is no doubt a goal of scientific work.  Predictions are the fruits of theories that can be tested … Continue reading Predictions and Animal Models of Human Disease

Lighting the Way to New Treatments

A variety of diseases in humans happen when proteins with important cellular functions are lacking or are produced in abnormally low amounts. One example is type-2 diabetes mellitus which is caused by a complex set of problems involving the use of sugars (mostly, glucose) as an energy source. After eating, sugars in food are taken … Continue reading Lighting the Way to New Treatments

“What Drives ‘animal researchers’ Like Me?”

As World Week for Animals in Laboratories (a week of animal rights misinformation) comes to a close, we have a guest post from Nancy Haigwood, director at Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC). This piece reflects well the frustration felt by many scientists about animal rights activists misrepresent the noble cause of scientists who work … Continue reading “What Drives ‘animal researchers’ Like Me?”