Forced to suffer for science: From animal cruelty and experimental inefficiency to a change of perspective.

Finding Neuron

We, as scientists, have become desensitized to the pain, the distress and the physical and emotional damage that we inflict on laboratory animals. So much so, that we constantly find justifications for our cruel experiments in the goal of finding cures for the illnesses of our conspecifics, and in the rules and regulations that authorize these heartless procedures.

Despite ongoing widespread use of animal models in research, recently there has been extensive criticism on the state of drug development in psychiatry, calling for a switch from rodent behavioral pharmacology to mechanistic studies in cellular systems. In a recent paper, Heilig and colleagues argue that:

Overall, neuroscience has simply had very little impact on clinical alcoholism treatment. The situation is representative of a borader translational crisis in psychiatric neuroscience. Becausetranslational failures in this area have been the rule rather than the exception, pharmaceutical industry has largely retracted from efforts…

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