Hide table of contents

My wife and I are about to choose what to do on our M.A. theses. Both of us are considering research of Alzheimer's disease, Aging & Cognitive Dissonance  - Either on humans  (Imaging or Cognitive tests) or  mice (Imaging and the use of other "wet" techniques - which many of regrettably include the death of mice).

Currently, we don't assign much value to the life of mice as test subjects when weighted against with a possible improvement of a Human's Condition.

We do, however, wonder which of the two is more beneficial.  
So: Any ideas whether Bio&Medical Research is more effective using Animal Models (not necessarily limited to mice) vs Humans?




New Answer
New Comment

2 Answers sorted by

Mice models for Alzheimer's research may not be as valid as thought though. I recommend reading this open-access book chapter on the topic: https://brill.com/view/book/edcoll/9789004391192/BP000025.xml

Have you considered asking for this thesis advice the Effective Thesis? They probably can connect you w/ someone w/ a background in this area.

[Below are my (totally optional) thoughts on this (and I'm only a software engineer working in a genomic research institute w/ no formal biomed background):]
I would think that (ethically approved) studies on humans are more useful in general, as they translate better to other humans. Also, the more we try to reduce and substitute non-human animal experimentations w/ alternatives, the more there is incentive to develop these alternatives. I must admit though that I'm "biased", as I consider non-human animal suffering no less urgent than equivalent suffering of humans, other things being equal.

Did'nt know about it! thanks you very much for your comments.

Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 12:48 AM

(No biomed background, just an avid reader of science news) Maybe you already ruled this out based on your specifics, but could lab-grown mini-organs be a suitable third option for your experimental ideas? That in-between choice might offer an end-run around both the mouse-to-human translation problem and the overhead and slowness of experimenting with human subjects within the time frame of a Master’s. Caveats: your estimate of the moral status of mini-brains, the smaller existing knowledge base of how to care for them and interpret results, and possibly cost. I don’t know if there are existing mini-organ models for Alzheimer’s as there are mouse models, sorry.

Interesting idea. Neuron cell cultures exist but are delicate & hard to work with; working with mice is on the organism and not cell level but is closer to it than human cognitive research.
Probably not one of the options for an M.A. but can very much be considered for the rest of our careers. 

I would suggest reading more on the validity of mice models, particularly for Alzheimer's, and their failure to translate to the human condition: https://brill.com/view/book/edcoll/9789004391192/BP000025.xml

Curated and popular this week
Relevant opportunities