Health Professionals Question Using Animals for Studies


National Institute of Mental Health Director Thomas Insel explains why using mice to try to help solve human psychological problems doesn’t work very well. Meanwhile, researchers reporting in the Journal of Health Psychology investigated health professionals’ perspectives on the current system for animal testing and found that, “The healthcare professionals were critical of the current system, particularly with regard to regulation, secrecy, validity, unnecessary suffering and welfare.”

Lost in Translation (NIMH Director’s Blog, December 4, 2014)

(Abstract) ‘I think it will eventually be done away with’: Attitudes among healthcare professionals towards the current system of animal experimentation’ (Dignon, Andrée. Journal of Health Psychology. Published online before print December 4, 2014. doi: 10.1177/1359105314559862)


  1. “why using mice to try to help solve human psychological problems doesn’t work very well”
    No sh*t Sherlock.
    First of all we can’t have good animal models when we don’t know what we are modelling. DSM is the most useless diagnostic tool on the planet.

    Report comment

  2. Do people who read Mr Insel’s editorial AND take it seriously display the same level of scientific sophistication as the author? It is a terrifying thought but also not a surprising one, given the “professionalism” of most psychiatrists. Anyone who has a medical degree should know very well the limitations of animal models (not only rodents ones) on human disorders. The is true even for many relatively simple cases of single gene mutations such as Aspm which in humans causes major microcephaly while mice only have testis function problems. Expecting immediate translation from mouse to humans for such highly evolved systems as nervous or immune ones is profoundly scientifically naïve unless you have been asleep for the last 20+ yrs. Similarly the ideas that marmosets will now be a great model system to study psychiatric disorders is silly given that marmoset is the outlier species among primates – it has lissencephalic brain, more like mice and rats rather than primates. A better model would be chimpanzee but that is just as unethical as using human subjects. Not mentioning the fact that no one has ever seen a psychotic chimp before. The claims that maybe we will be able to model schizophrenia in a dish do not even enter the real of science fiction- rather science nonsense. I’d love to see Mr Insel determining if this cell culture is experiencing hallucinations. I don’t even want to go into criticising the whole framework about thinking of psychiatric disorders as brain diseases of genetic and molecular origin because my face is already sore from having been hit with my palm.
    I happen to be a neuroscientist myself and when I read articles like that I don’t know whether I should cry or laugh or scream. It really gives me symptoms of a major psychiatric disorder…

    Report comment