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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: Quanta Magazine
Date: 25 March 2015
The comb jelly, a primitive marine creature, is forcing scientists to rethink how animals got their start.
Source: LiveScience
Date: 26 Feb 2015

New research suggests that a single gene may be responsible for the large number of neurons found uniquely in the human brain. 

Source: Science
Date: 19 Feb 2015
The work provides some of the strongest genetic evidence yet for how the human intellect surpassed those of all other apes.
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