AC Winter 2010 Medical Issues Animal Research

AC Winter 2010 Medical Issues Animal Research - Did you...

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What is medical research that uses animals? Animals and people get many of the same illnesses. Certain types of animals can stand in for humans with particular diseases. The information we gain from these studies—about how we’re the same and how we’re different—benefits people and animals. Medical research with animals is one type of medical research, but other types include experiments with cells and chemicals and simulations on computers. Animal research usually describes research involving vertebrates, such as cats, mice, frogs, pigs, and primates. Most animals used in research are specifically bred for use in medical research. Another important type of research is clinical research, in which scientists conduct studies with humans. These studies almost always require the results of preliminary tests in animal research studies. Did you know that a child born today in the United States is expected to live into his or her late 70s, whereas the same child born at the turn of the 20th century would have been expected to live only into his or her 40s? Eating better and learning how to keep ourselves and our environment clean played a role, but medical research using laboratory animals was a vital factor driving this incredible progress. How do scientists decide to use animals in medical research? All medical research is carefully planned, and this includes medical research with animals. Experts who review a scientist’s proposed experiment involving animals weigh several considerations before approving each study. The most important thing is that the research must be relevant to human or animal health. Studies need to protect the animals’ welfare. That means that only the fewest number of the most appropriate species may be used. Under federal law, all animals must be treated humanely and undergo the least distress possible. Table 1.
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