Watch the video, “The Value of Drug Addiction Research”. Throughout the talk, Dr. Nader references animal research and then generalizes this research to our understanding of human addiction. Is this appropriate? What is the value of utilizing animal research in our understanding of addictions? What concerns do you have about the application of animal research for understanding human addiction?
Drug addiction is a neuropsychiatric condition with profound human implications and a massive worldwide economic effect. Despite decades of study, the treatment choices for addiction are frequently inadequate because our primitive understanding of drug-induced disease in brain circuits and synaptic physiology prevents the development of effective medicines (Kuhn. et al., 2019). According to Michael Nader (2013), Animal Research in drug addiction is the best predictive model for human conditions available to determine outcomes for interventions in drug addiction treatment. Dr Nader. Supports the understanding of addiction with the help of the monkey., a non-human primate with similar neurochemistry to humans, which self-administered cocaine and showed the difference in dopamine receptors.
Identical to humans, dopamine levels are essential for understanding addiction due to the behavioural demand for drugs encouraged by the excitement and psychological relief enhancing dependency, validating the animal research objective of understanding addiction (Field & Kersbergen., 2019).
However, the research is at most irrelevant in establishing a pharmacological treatment. Addiction for humans is based on numerous determinants. The premise of animal research is mainly observational and outputs numerous unknowns of the determinants fostering the addiction process.
The value of utilising animal models in understanding drug addiction is the ability of animals to exhibit and study addiction-like behaviour provides us with an intriguing opportunity to research the neurological and genetic basis of drug addiction, which we hope may eventually lead to the development of more effective therapies for this dreadful condition.
However, several concerns about applying animal models in understanding human substance addiction are prevalent. For example, the trials do not provide enough evident data to verify the aspect of addiction, especially in implementing pharmacological implementation.
The animal models have numerous issues affecting medication safety as human subjects have been harmed upon clinical trials of medications successful in treating animals. The tests are also resource-intensive and cost and time extensive, impeding understanding of the issue of drug addiction.
Field, M., and Kersbergen, I. (2019). Are animal models of helpful addiction? Addiction Opinion and Debate. Addiction. Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.1111/add.14764
Kuhn, B.N., Kalivas, P.W., and Bobadilla, A. (2019). Understanding Addiction Using Animal Models. Frontiers in Behavioural Neuroscience. Retrieved from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnbeh.2019.00262/full
Tedx Talks. (2013). The Value of Drug Addiction Research: Michael Nader at TEDxWakeForestU [YouTube.]. Accessed from; https://youtu.be/YeOQchrFMu4
Check out; Animal Research Validity