I’ve finally managed to get a good nights sleep, but I’m still feeling quite tired and my neck is quite painful, I suppose I have quite a lot of sleep to catch up on. As I said in a previous post I was going to write about the topic of the use of primates in medical research, so one of the reasons this post is a bit late is because I’ve done a bit of fishing around to see if there had been any TS research involving primates. This is a topic, vivisection, that has interested me from quite an early age, I remember vividly when I was about 11 or 12 reading my Dad’s “Mirror” and reading an article about a US scientist who had been conducting research on monkeys, I was horrified by this article and the photos that had been published, I can’t remember what the aim of the research was, but the experiments involved transplanting the head of one living monkey onto the body of another living monkey. I have always been of the sentiment that testing beauty and household products on animals is completely unnecessary but with regards to medical research the lines become somewhat blurred, that’s the train of thought now, when I was younger things were more black and white and my viewpoint was very much that there should be no research involving animals. The main reason being that it is on the whole quite an inhumane practice, and our primate cousins deserve to be treated with more humanity rather than a tool for us to gain more knowledge about ourselves and medical conditions that we often face. There’s something quite sentimental about seeing primates, it’s probably because they are so similar to ourselves, bonobos, and like us have sex for recreation, just take a look at this article about macaques learning to use a camera. theblogismine.com/2011/07/0... . This topic regarding the effectiveness of using primates in medical research has been in the news over the last couple of days, particularly when you here about macaques taking up photography. So this got my grey matter whirring and wondering if the had been any use of primates in the research conducted with regards to TS, so I’ve done some probing and this is the first article that I found - neurocritic.blogspot.com/20... obviously this hasn’t been written by a ticcer or a doctor who researches TS, as the writer doesn’t understand what is meant by “brain clutter” I know what “brain clutter” is, as a ticcer it’s with me for virtually every waking minute of my life, also physical clutter tends to follow me wherever I go, at the moment I’ sitting at my very cluttered desk, which does look like as though macacaques have been experimenting on it. If you follow the link “ sciencedaily.com/releases/2... “this will guide you to another website with a whole load of articles relating to TS research, including a trial for DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation) which actually took place in Italy, not Birmingham as the article suggests, the UK trial has yet to begin, the FDA hasn’t yet approved DBS for the treatment of TS. However, DBS is being used for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, the the vast majority of DBS research that has been carried out has I the main been for PD and Epilepsy. PD, like TS is also a movement disorder, and I did have the good fortune a while ago to meet a man with PD who had undergone DBS, who told me how it had changed his life and since started to lead a life which was almost as active as before he was struck down with PD. In instances like his, he was relatively young when he developed PD (late 40’s) and was previously fit, healthy and active. Like PD, TS can be extremely debilitating and constant ticcing can cause injury. In these instances where a person’s quality of life is severely impaired by the tics (unable to walk, unable to do simple tasks, very painful) DBS could be the answer, but of course as we ticcers know our tics affect us in many different ways, both physically, emotionally and socially. Back to the research, from what I have found out the DBS research for epilepsy had been carried out on rats and the research for DBS treatment for Parkinson’s on monkeys, in the animal kingdom there is now equivalent condition, only humans get PD (I wonder if animals can get TS? – “Pets with Tourette’s”??, I can hear my boss in my head saying “don’t go there!” So, to induce PD symptoms in the monkeys they give them a dose of MPTP, which is a by-product of synthetic heroin, and then when the symptoms start they then perform DBS on the monkeys. DBS is usually (on humans) whilst the patient is conscious to ensure the right parts of the brain are being stimulated, what would be interesting to know is if the monkey is conscious or unconscious during the procedure, and what happens to the monkey after they having finished monitoring the monkey’s symptoms? The recent argument stems from the fact that in recent years brain imaging has come on in leaps and bounds, there are different methods used and researchers can gather a lot of valuable information from such scans (MRI for example), with regards to movement disorders, it can be quite difficult for someone like me to be scanned effectively whilst conscious, basically I move to much, I wouldn’t be able to keep my head still, maybe gaffer tape would be a suitable remedy to this problem. I welcome the research on TS that is currently being down, it al goes towards helping your fellow ticcer, although it may not help you personally, except for gaining a greater knowledge and understanding of the condition but it may help other ticcers in the future. Although the monkeys unfortunately don’t have a choice when it comes to taking part in research, rather like working animals, guide dogs, sniffer dogs, and those animals I the past that endured great hardship in the past, e.g., pit ponies, I would like to think that their life wasn’t in vain and that they do have some kind of quality of life when the research has finished and they can exhibit their natural behaviours. One of the reasons why I have written this blog is to provoke a response from any of the TS specialists out there an let us know what’s going on with regards to TS research and of course their views on using primates verses humans.
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