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BrainFacts.org

Introduction

Neuroscientists aim to understand how the brain works and to advance treatments for diseases and disorders of the nervous system. This type of research requires investigating complex functions at all levels of the living nervous system. Because it is impossible to use humans for this work, neuroscientists turn to animals. Acting under regulations put forth by governmental agencies, scientists use animals to discover how diseases and their potential therapies affect the entire body — experimental procedures that are often difficult, if not impossible, to replicate with alternative methods.

Discoveries

Source: Society for Neuroscience
Research on dogs has enabled scientists to develop a potential cure that could someday restore vision to people – and dogs – with leber congenital amaurosis.
Source: Society for Neuroscience
Animal research has helped scientists better understand how repeated drug use changes the brain, resulting in new treatments for addiction.
Source: Society for Neuroscience
There is no cure for prion diseases, such as "mad cow" disease, however, researchers’ increased understanding of these diseases has had positive benefits for both humans and animals.
Source: Society for Neuroscience
There is only one established clinical treatment for stroke, which was developed following experiments observing stroke in rabbits.
Source: Society for Neuroscience
Animal models have been central to the discovery of drug treatments for such serious disorders as depression, anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia.

Animal Research in the News

Source: Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative
Date: 15 Nov 2014
Monkeys exposed in utero to their mother’s immune response to a mock infection show inflammation in their brains four years later.
Source: Discovery News
Date: 27 Oct 2014
Famed for its excellent vision and pouncing skills, has long been an enigma to neurobiologists.
Source: Inside Science
Date: 25 Aug 2014
Unique analysis shows that woodpeckers use their bulk to protect their heads.
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