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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat



    UA has strict animal-control policies

    A letter to your paper by Dr. Aysha Akhtar that concerned animal testing in medical research (“”Animal experiments ‘have never been validated,'”” Friday) set me to thinking. The letter stated, “”Animal experiments have never been validated as an effective means for studying human disease.”” I would take issue with that statement. A good example of how animal experiments have been effective in studying human disease is the famous work of Drs. Banting and Best in Canada in the early 1920s. Their work on diabetes in dogs led directly to an understanding of diabetes in humans. It led to the discovery of insulin and its use as a treatment for more than 15 million diabetics in America. I would say their work is more than validated.

    Akhtar goes on to say that animals in a lab setting suffer stress from life in a lab or from experiments. Does a person suffering from cancer suffer less stress? I assume her statement means to show that using animals in medical research is not worthwhile. But scientists should use animals and other techniques at their disposal to fight disease. To do less would be unethical.

    Akhtar also takes University Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUCs) to task, saying they “”are supposed to carefully review applications and ensure compliance with animal welfare regulations, but the committees are frequently dominated by animal researchers or other employees of research facilities.”” At the UA, our IACUC group is 53.66 percent researchers, 26.33 percent non-researchers and 20 percent members of the community at large. Akhtar says that researchers do little or no work at all to find alternative methods that don’t use animals. In reality, there is a legal requirement that researchers justify in their protocols sent to the IACUC giving the reasons why they need to use animals and to document attempts to find other methods and also to make sure their proposed work isn’t duplicating work being done elsewhere.

    Lastly, Akhtar says, “”The federal Animal Welfare Act does not even cover rats, mice and birds, who make up 90 percent of the animals used in labs.”” In reality the university receives money from the Public Health Service and other entities with policies covering rodents and birds. Researchers are required to submit very detailed and complete protocol forms for using ANY animal in experiments.

    -Sam Marion
    senior research specialist
    UA Department of Physiology

    UMC full of ‘bad apples’

    If you have a serious injury, then University Medical Center is not the place to go. There are enough bad apples at UMC to ruin the bunch. About two months ago, I had a serious back injury that caused a disc to slip. When standing, a disc in my spine was bulging out and pulling on all the nerves. It’s like the pain you get when you get a small cut, except it was constant and disabling.

    UMC was close by, so I made my way there. That was my first mistake. At UMC, the emergency/urgent care room is usually busy, so don’t expect sympathy or pleasantries. The staff, especially the insurance taker, is cold and only offers up sarcasm. They definitely need to have their attitudes adjusted or possibly be terminated.

    The nurse I had at the time, Dianne, was absolutely wonderful. She’s a very kind and compassionate nurse. The doctor I had was not so wonderful. She diagnosed me with lower back pain and told me to take two days off from work. This was despite the fact that this sort of injury had occurred a month ago and took three weeks to heal. They then gave me a shot of morphine, which did not help, and sent me away with exactly the same excruciating pain. As I said, it has been two months, and sitting and standing for more then an hour is painful.

    What bugs me is that the doctors do seem competent, and the only reason I can find for the mistreatment and misdiagnosis is the fact that I am a young college student. The hospital failed to uphold its promise of pain management, and the doctor failed to correctly diagnose and assess my condition. I believe they thought I was exaggerating the pain to get morphine. They need to stop age-based discrimination and start doing their jobs right.

    -Andrew Gardiner
    aerospace engineering senior

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