12/17/11 Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context – Document Apollo Library Saved Items (0) All Viewpoints Academic Journals Change Resources Return to My Library Search History Primary Sources My Library Statistics Logout More Search Advanced Search Home Issues Maps Resources Using Monkeys in Medical Experimentation Is Justifiable Animal Experimentation , 2009 Tools Bookmark Share Citation Tools Print “Hot Science: Monkeys and Brain Research,” RDS (Research Defence Society), www. rds-online. org. uk, accessed June 23, 2008. Reproduced by permission.
The Research Defence Society (RDS) is the UK organization representing medical researchers in the public debate about the use of animals in medical research. Although monkeys are currently used for very few experiments, they remain an important part of neuroscience research. Most monkeys used in research are treated well: they are bred specifically for experimentation and are housed in environments that allow both interaction with other monkeys and participation in normal behavior (foraging, climbing, etc. ). The primary reason that monkeys continue to be used in research rests upon the similarity between monkey and human brains.
Animal experiments that rely on monkeys allow researchers to better understand how Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, along with drug addiction and schizophrenia, affect the human brain. Through experiments with monkeys, scientists have made advances in all of these fields that have greatly benefited humans. Much of what we know about the human brain comes from neuroscience research on monkeys. Given our present state of knowledge, research on monkeys is likely to be necessary for the foreseeable future. We have too little detail about how the human brain is organised for computer models of the brain to be of great use at this stage.
But, where non-animal methods can be used, it is illegal to use animals. It is also important to note that our closest cousins, great apes (chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans), haven’t been used in UK research for at least 20 years and their use is now banned. Dictionary Table Of Contents Monkeys in UK Research Why Are Monkeys Used? Organisation of the Brain Brain and Behaviour Alzheimer’s Disease Parkinson’s Disease Drug Addiction and Schizophrenia Related Subjects Medical research Drug abuse Alzheimer’s disease Schizophrenia Brain research More Monkeys in UK Research
Most research animals are rodents: monkeys are required in less than one fifth of one percent (ie about one in 700) of animal experiments in the UK. Only a fraction of these are used in neuroscience research. When it is necessary to use monkeys, they are normally purpose-bred in approved centres. Although wildcaught monkeys may be used in very exceptional circumstances, this has not happened for several years. It is now standard practice to house research monkeys in social groups, and to provide them with plenty of space and a stimulating and diverse environments.
This means they can carry out their full range of normal behaviour such as foraging for food, climbing, swinging and grooming. As far as possible, pain and distress [are] avoided, for instance by using non-invasive procedures or training monkeys to cooperate with their human carers. Indeed, in most neuroscience studies the active and voluntary participation of the monkey is essential, so it is very much in the interest of the researcher to make the study as rewarding as possible for the monkey. Why Are Monkeys Used? ic. galegroup. com. ezproxy. pollolibrary. com/ic/ovic/ViewpointsDetailsPage/ViewpointsDetailsWindow? … 1/6 12/17/11 Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context – Document Our understanding of the functioning of nerve cells has been based on animals such as the rat and even invertebrates such as squid, but the organisation of these nerve cells to form complex systems in the brain cannot be understood without studying the monkey brain. The complex nature and connectivity of these neural systems in humans is much closer to that found in the monkey brain than in other animals.
For example, certain parts of the brain such as the cerebral cortex are poorly developed in other animals. And the temporal and frontal lobes of the cortex, which are involved in functions such as perception, attention, memory and planning in the human brain, are underdeveloped in lower animals. There is very strong evidence that there are structural, functional, behavioural and neurobiological similarities between humans and monkeys. Research into neurological disorders involving higher functions and brain structures such as the frontal lobes depends much more on studies of monkeys than of other animals.
For example, disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, drug addiction and obsessive compulsive disorder all involve malfunctioning of the frontal lobes and their interactions with other parts of the brain. This is also true of conditions such as head injury, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases, stroke and some types of dementia. Last century, monkeys were essential in the development of the polio vaccine, which has saved millions of lives. In which areas of research are monkeys important today?
Here we look at the use of monkeys in understanding how the brain works, and outline research that aims to understand and treat Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, drug addiction and schizophrenia. Monkeys are also used in research into epilepsy, stroke, autism and blindness, and in areas not related to neuroscience, such as developing safe and effective vaccines for AIDS and malaria, and in transplant research. Organisation of the Brain One way in which studies of monkeys have been essential has been their use to determine the detailed ‘wiring diagram’ of the human brain: how different systems connect to one another.
Many brain disorders arise because of loss of communication between different brain regions or are due to impaired function within these regions. It has proved largely impossible to understand the wiring of the human brain from post mortem studies, and studies of rodents are of limited use because their brain structure is not sufficiently similar to that of humans. Structural brain scanning using CT [computed tomography] or MRI [magnetic resonance imaging] cannot determine accurately in space and time how these connections are made.
So it is necessary to study the anatomy of the monkey brain at the microscopic level. Brain and Behaviour To study how nerve cells work to produce behaviour it is necessary to examine their firing patterns using microelectrodes. This technique does not in any way incapacitate the animal and only causes minimal discomfort (the brain itself does not have pain receptors, so does not feel pain). The techniques are quite similar to those used in certain human disorders such as epilepsy where it is necessary to record brain activity.
Information from monkey studies provides the basis for understanding how brain systems form impressions of the world, make decisions and act appropriately—the process known as cognition. Studies of the human brain using imaging techniques are inadequate for fully understanding the role of the brain in cognition for several reasons: the nature and therefore the exact meaning of the images with respect to nerve activity is incompletely understood; the resolution of the signals in space and time is not yet good enough; it does not establish cause and effect—it only shows that certain systems may be active during cognition.
The most precise way of determining the role of particular brain structures or systems is to study the way they function when they are damaged or temporarily inactivated. In humans, it is difficult to come to definite conclusions about brain-behaviour relationships on the basis of brain damage, because the damage in patients arising from accidental injuries or disease is often diffuse or extends across several different brain regions. Techniques for temporary inactivation of the human brain, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation, have drawbacks. They affect the functioning of an undefined number of active systems and the c. galegroup. com. ezproxy. apollolibrary. com/ic/ovic/ViewpointsDetailsPage/ViewpointsDetailsWindow? … 2/6 12/17/11 Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context – Document stimulation, have drawbacks. They affect the functioning of an undefined number of active systems and the results may be difficult to interpret. For studies of cognitive function it is therefore necessary to study the effects of small areas of damage which involve particular brain cells or systems, and this can be achieved in the cerebral cortex and related areas of the brain in monkeys.
The damage is normally reversible. For such experiments, it is vital that the animals are stress-free and are kept in good conditions. No forms of painful negative motivation are used, although the monkeys may have to work for some of their preferred foods. In general monkeys enjoy solving puzzles and interacting with computer screens. Alzheimer’s Disease Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating disease of old age that causes memory loss, emotional problems and impaired reasoning. It affects one person in 10 over the age of 65 and almost half those over the age of 85.
It begins in the temporal lobe and related brain areas. The development of Alzheimer’s disease is thought to be associated with the death of certain brain cells (known as cholinergic cells) due to the build-up of an insoluble protein called amyloid-beta (A-beta) to form white plaques, and the formation of tangles of a second protein, tau, inside the sufferers’ brain cells. Brain cells cannot regenerate, probably because of the absence of a substance called nerve growth factor. In monkeys this substance has been shown to prevent the death of brain cells and stimulate connections between them.
Studies of monkeys led to understanding of the entire nerve circuitry involved in human Parkinson’s disease. It is generally impossible to mimic all aspects of a complex human disorder such as schizophrenia or Alzheimer’s disease with animals by producing symptoms that exactly match those of the human disorder. However, it is possible to mimic some aspects and some of the resulting symptoms. For example, damage to parts of the cerebral cortex and hippocampus in monkeys—areas affected by Alzheimer’s disease in humans—causes symptoms such as memory loss and can be used to assess novel anti-Alzheimer’s drug therapies.
Parkinson’s Disease People with Parkinson’s disease (some 120,000 in the UK) suffer from shaking, rigidity, balance problems and slowed movement. Similar symptoms that are a side-effect of other diseases are termed Parkinsonism. Although Parkinson’s disease is probably not naturally present in most animals it is possible to re-create some of the symptoms. In fact, our understanding of Parkinson’s disease has depended almost entirely in studies with other animals, principally rodents and monkeys. For example, animal studies were directly responsible for the discovery and measurement of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain.
Dopamine is deficient in certain parts of the brain in Parkinson’s disease. Animal studies have also led to development of the successful therapy, L-dopa. However, L-dopa medication is not a perfect treatment and doctors have been seeking other forms of treatment—based for example on transplanting stem cells into the brain or on other techniques. One of these is the ‘brain pacemaker’, or Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus. Studies of monkeys led to understanding of the entire nerve circuitry involved in human Parkinson’s disease.
Part of the problem in Parkinson’s disease is that the loss of dopamine in a region called the basal ganglia causes the output system to seize up because other areas of the brain become too active. Switching off a specific part of the basal ganglia called the subthalamic nucleus can curb these effects. This can be done by stimulating this brain area with tiny amounts of electrical current. This was originally shown to work in monkeys with Parkinson’s disease symptoms—and is now being used in human patients with considerable success. The benefits are often immediately apparent and quite dramatic.
Over 20,000 Parkinson patients worldwide have now been treated with DBS. Drug Addiction and Schizophrenia It is now gradually becoming clear that long-term drug abuse may be associated with brain damage in ic. galegroup. com. ezproxy. apollolibrary. com/ic/ovic/ViewpointsDetailsPage/ViewpointsDetailsWindow? … 3/6 12/17/11 Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context – Document It is now gradually becoming clear that long-term drug abuse may be associated with brain damage in humans. This may make it impossible to fully rehabilitate addicts, even when they are detoxified.
In fact, some difficulties with complex decision-making are linked with the duration of abuse of drugs such as amphetamine. This may also be true for related drugs such as MDMA (ecstasy). However, we do not know the basis of this—it may arise from some pre-existing fault in the brain of the drug abuser. It is impossible to be sure whether the drug abuse has actually caused these problems because we cannot study humans at earlier stages in their development, nor can we ever be fully aware of the variety of drugs or other things that may have affected them.
The only way to determine cause and effect is to study this in an experimental, controlled manner in animals. Recent advances with gene microchip technology are showing that certain genes are expressed differently from normal in the frontal cortex of the brain of patients with schizophrenia. However, it is difficult to be sure whether these potentially important clues to how the brain has become ‘miswired’ are actually due to a disease process, or possibly arise in brain development, or are merely side-effects of treatment with drugs which are used to treat schizophrenia.
The same types of gene are expressed in the monkey frontal lobes. Only by studying whether comparable drug treatments lead to the same changes can we understand what is really causing the changes in gene expression. As well as this need to understand how antischizophrenic drugs work, it is becoming increasingly necessary to determine how such drugs may improve the impaired cognitive functions of the temporal or frontal lobes. This impairment prevents full rehabilitation, even after psychotic symptoms have disappeared. Further Readings Books Robert M. Baird and Stuart E.
Rosenbaum, eds. Animal Experimentation: The Moral Issues. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus, 1991. Luigi Boitani and Todd Fuller, eds. Research Techniques in Animal Ecology. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000. Colin Burgess and Chris Dubbs Animals in Space: From Research Rockets to the Space Shuttle. New York: Springer, 2007. Larry Carbone What Animals Want: Expertise and Advocacy in Laboratory Animal Welfare Policy. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. Marilyn E. Carroll and J. Bruce Overmier, eds. Animal Research and Human Health: Advancing Human Welfare Through Behavioral Science.
Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2001. P. Michael Conn and James V. Parker The Animal Research War. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. Nancy Day Animal Experimentation: Cruelty or Science? Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow, 2000. Alix Fano Lethal Laws: Animal Testing, Human Health and Environmental Policy. New York: Zed, 1997. Jean Swingle Greek and C. Ray Greek What Will We Do If We Don’t Experiment on Animals? Victoria, BC: Trafford, 2006. Hugh LaFollette Brute Science: Dilemmas of Animal Experimentation. New York: Routledge, 1997.
Randall Lockwood and Frank R. Ascione, eds. Cruelty to Animals and Interpersonal Violence: Readings in Research and Application. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 1998. Vaughan Monamy Animal Experimentation: A Guide to the Issues. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Bernard E. Rollin Animal Rights and Human Morality. Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 2006. Harry Salem, ed. Advances in Animal Alternatives for Safety and Efficacy Testing. Washington, DC: Informa Healthcare, 1997. Peter Singer, ed. In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave.
Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006. Periodicals Bakersfield Californian “Terrorists Targeting Researchers,” August 28, 2008. Thomas Barlow “Paying for Knowledge with a Trail of Carcasses,” Financial Times, July 7, 2001. Choice “Cosmetics: Safe and Cruelty-Free? ” April 2006. Choice “Cruelty-Free Beauty,” April 2006. Chronicle of Higher Education “New Front in Battle over Studies of Animals,” June 27, 2008. ic. galegroup. com. ezproxy. apollolibrary. com/ic/ovic/ViewpointsDetailsPage/ViewpointsDetailsWindow? … 4/6 12/17/11 Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context – Document
Chronicle of Higher Education “New Front in Battle over Studies of Animals,” June 27, 2008. Randy Cohen “Giving Art a Hand,” New Times, October 12, 2003. P. Michael Conn and James V. Parker”Winners and Losers in the Animal-Research War,” American Scientist, May/June 2008. Current Events “Monkey in the Middle,” January 27, 2007. Economist “Humane League,” September 1, 2007. Europe Agri “Research: New Solutions Expected to Cut Down on Animal Testing,” April 30, 2007. Global Agenda “Dodging the Law,” September 12, 2007. Sally G. Hoskins “Lessons in Life,” Newsweek, June 16, 2008.
Information Week “Robots, Computers to Help Phase Out Animal Testing,” February 15, 2008. Tanuja Koppal “Chipping Away at Animal Testing,” Bioscience Technology, April 2008. Richard Monastersky “Protestors Fail to Slow Animal Research,” Chronicle of Higher Education, April 18, 2008. Nature “Animal Tests Inescapable,” May 29, 2008. Jehangir Pocha “Animal Tester,” Forbes, October 30, 2006. Jehangir Pocha “Comparative Advantage,” Forbes, November 13, 2006. Nick Price “Hail Caesar,” Chemistry and Industry, August 11, 2008. Andrew Read “Vivisectionists Strike Back,” Nature, May 29, 2008.
Anne Riley-Katz “Protesters Force Juice Maker to End Testing on Animals,” Los Angeles Business Journal, January 22, 2007. Sacramento (CA) Bee “Animals in Experiments,” May 27, 2008. Wesley J. Smith “Human Guinea Pigs,” Weekly Standard, January 3, 2006. Jo Tanner “Standing Up for Animal Research,” Chemistry and Industry, May 1, 2006. Pamela S. Turner “Are Ape Rights the Next Frontier? ” Odyssey, April 2008. Rich Ulmer “The Future of Safety Testing Labs,” Global Cosmetic Industry, August 2007. Meredith Wadman “Medical Schools Swap Pigs for Plastic,” Nature, May 8, 2008.