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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: The Washington Post
Date: 10 Dec 2014
Dragonflies are already known to be swift hunters, but new research shows that they aren't turning and diving in reaction to their prey's movements — they're predicting those movements before they occur.
Source: The Washington Post
Date: 9 Dec 2014
When glial cells were injected into lab mice, they multiplied and the mice responded more quickly to stimuli.
Source: Smithsonian
Date: 3 Dec 2014

Researchers implanted immature human brain cells in mouse pups, which then grew and replaced nearly half the mice's own cells.

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