though humans are animals, the term "animal study" refers to studies
using non-human animals as subjects. Animals are used in studies
when there would be potential harm from performing a study with
can be used in invasive studies and "sacrificed" so tissue
samples can be taken at the end of the study.
we can gain information from animal studies that would be
impossible in human studies.
any humans willing to let someone take a sample of brain tissue?)
usefulness of an animal study depends on the ability to find a suitable
"animal model". Humans have a lot of similarities to, say, rats
(some more so than others!), but rats are not humans. So animal
researchers need to find animals that respond in a similar manner
to humans regarding what they are studying. For example, vitamin
C is a required nutrient for humans, but not rats, so rats are not
a suitable animal model to use for vitamin C studies.
have to be cautious when making generalizations from animal studies
to the human population.
example, very high doses of saccharine have been shown to cause
cancer in laboratory animals.
the amounts of saccharine consumed by the rats were much more that
a human could realistically consume. In addition, the types of tumors
rats develop are often types not found in humans. So it is not really
proper to say that saccharine causes cancer in humans.
researchers must follow very strict guidelines to ensure the humane
treatment of animals, yet some people do have ethical concerns about
using animals for research.