I use of animals in their lab before they

I
believe it is ethical to use animal studies to improve our understanding of
human brain function and disorders to a certain extent. It is easy to say, as
many extremists have, that animal researchers simply abuse animals and
experiment on them in any way they choose. However, the NIH, federal and state
regulators, and a university committee have to all approve of an investigator’s
use of animals in their lab before they can even begin their work. The U.S.

truly has some of the strictest policies on animal research. This is just one
of the many reasons why we shouldn’t look at animals in a negative light as
helpless creatures being subjected to cruelty. 

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There are so many advancements in medicine that have been
possible solely or primarily because of the existence of animal research. For
example, consider how much cancer survival rates have risen because of ongoing
research on mice. On a global scale, diseases like smallpox have left the earth
because of research on animals. I can only imagine what the effects would be if
animal research was banned altogether. Moreover, it is possible to analyze the dramatic
improvements made to human health specifically when it comes to the mind and
brain. Drug therapies that have been first experimented and tested on animals
have made significant advances in the treatment of mental health issues over
this past decade. One such example of this is the drug Chloropromazine, which
was developed in the 1950’s. In more general terms, drugs have been proven
effective in treating diseases such as schizophrenia and anxiety/panic attacks.

 

There
are several benefits for using animal studies, and one specific example as
pointed out in the readings was that it could help us perfect the surgical
procedures needed to help cure epileptic patients.

Another important point to consider is the ethical dilemmas with conducting
these experiments on human subjects. Unfortunately the human psyche is very
fragile and there are severe consequences to damaging it. Medical researchers are not simply a bunch of lunatics. Instead,
they are required to make every effort possible to minimize suffering.

Another reason why it is favorable to use animals for studies of
the human brain is because they are very similar to human beings in many ways. Chimpanzees share 99% of
their DNA with humans, and mice are 98% genetically similar to humans. All
mammals, including humans, are descended from common ancestors, and all have
the same set of organs that function in essentially the same way, even when it
comes to the mind and brain. Because animals and humans are so
biologically similar, they are susceptible to many of the same conditions and
illnesses and brain diseases are just one part of them. Moreover, rats in
specific also socialize in much of the same way as humans do. They play and
live together and interact. Therefore, analyzing them can really help us
provide clues for understanding the human brain in its true colors and at the
same time give us insight into what terms such as empathy mean for them in
their behavioral development. 

The only time I would say
no to research on animals is when it is easy to use MRI to assess the topic
being studied. These are in very rare cases however and for brain research I
don’t believe that is possible as stated above.

Now let’s turn to the other side of this story
are really focus on why so many people are against researching on animals and
what they believe is a good alternative.  According to one article, extremists on the
opposite end tend to argue that FMRI and the new development of computer
simulations are so effective that there is practically no need for animal
research now.  The primary issue with
this argument is that FMRI is very limited in how much of the brain it can
analyze and is a very indirect method conducting brain research. It measures
indirect changes in blood flow and doesn’t guarantee a full understanding of
neural activity as a result. Researchers need to be able to more effective
study how neurons directly communicate with each other and that is why it is so
essential to conduct research on animals instead.  Finally, the last major point against FMRI’s
is that there is no doubt that FMRI signals are very slow. On the contrary,
neurons work much faster and there is no way that the two of them can come at
the same level in helping understand human brain function.

Another reason why it is favorable to use animals for studies of
the human brain is because they are very similar to human beings in many ways. Chimpanzees share 99% of
their DNA with humans, and mice are 98% genetically similar to humans. All
mammals, including humans, are descended from common ancestors, and all have
the same set of organs that function in essentially the same way with the help
of a bloodstream and central nervous system. Because animals and humans
are so biologically similar, they are susceptible to many of the same
conditions and illnesses and brain diseases are just one part of them.

All in all, animal research
is crucial when it comes to enhancing our understanding of human brain
function. This is not to say that another path won’t be formed in the future
but for now animal research is the best hope we have for long-term purposes. There are so many different that
incurable disease that shatter lives. If we are to have any hope of treating
such conditions, medical research needs every tool at its disposal. For
everyone’s sake, that must include animals.