Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Article Comments (5)

Mice take one for the human team… again

Gone are the days of Beaver Cleaver – and apparently the days of Mickey & Minnie mouse are numbered as well.

In this new study, humans give LSD to the little rodents:

“Of course, we don’t know what the mice experience when they are treated with these drugs,” Sealfon said. “But we do know that there is a head twitch response in the mice that provides a good correlation with drugs that are known to be hallucinogenic in humans.”

So um… why are we doing this?

The Onion spoofed animal research very nicely, picturing an obesity study lab rat nestled among snickers bars and M&Ms.

And in another recent study, we gave mad cow disease to our furry friends:

“As expected… at 9 weeks of age they developed sponginess in the brain tissue, all the mice developed behavior and memory problems, for example they stopped burrowing.”

Hey, I have an idea for a new study – let’s see what mice infected with mad cow disease do if we also give them LSD?

I feel a bit sad for the tiny critters, don’t you?This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at

You may also like these posts

Read comments »

5 Responses to “Mice take one for the human team… again”

  1. Anonymous says:

    It is tests like this, that I must agree w/ PETA. I read the study and it seems that it was a ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ study.(Use the grant money for something or lose it). I thought test done in the 70′s & 80′s proved the same thing. What were the NEW findings?
    It seems the ‘little critters’ as you called them were sacrificed for nothing.

  2. healthyg says:

    Yes, humans have no respect for the other living creatures on this planet. What I want to know is, where do they get the illegal drugs from? And if they’re illegal, why should we care what LSD does anyway?!?!

  3. ValJonesMD says:

    Excellent point, healthyg. Animal research is sometimes valuable and necessary, but so many of these studies seem to be sacrificing animals without a solid reason for doing so. I still remember the beagles that they had in the Mayo Clinic research facility (I did bench research in virology in a nearby lab). They’d bark and cry all night long. I just hope that they didn’t die in vain!

  4. HeatherAnn says:

    Thanks for the post. This study was also reported in mainstream media. The media portrayed the report in a typical Idiot American manner of total acceptance (referencing Green Day’s excellent song “Idiot America”).

    There is no longer any good justification to experiment on non human animals. It is greed and the need to feel important that drives present toxicology. Epidemiology will always be far superior to toxicology.

    This particular study disgusted me more than some others, because the apex of LSD research has already been achieved. Timothy Leary and many of his colleagues determined a profoundly excellent use for the drug, as can be read in his captivating book ‘Flashbacks.’ I have used LSD about a dozen times, and for me it was easy to ‘see’ the drug’s benefits and risks. I am a scientist, a truth seeker, and on my way to becoming an MD.

    Leary ‘dosed’ with inmates in prisons to ethically gain the inmates’ trust and then help them ‘rewire’ their mindsets or thought processes, if you will. I suppose ‘neurolinguistic reprogramming’ is another term for this process of self improvement. LSD is not necessary to reprogram a human, of course, but it can help, ONLY with the right ‘guide.’ The wrong ‘guide’ or therapist can really confuse the person’s (in need of help) mind. Sadly, most people wouldn’t know anything about this alien concept of ‘self improvement.’ Additionally, most people would not know about ‘self experimentation,’ because most humans are happy to torture non humans for their own gain., no matter how vain the gain is (i.e. Botox uses the LD/50 test for each and every batch – sickeningly unethical).

    As a vegan consumer (my three dogs are vegan too), I would certainly not pay someone to torture 100 monkeys or mice or even 1 monkey or mouse to save my mother’s life, etc. whether she was accountable or not for her condition. In addition, I would sacrifice my own life for the greater good of others. I only wish through some miracle that a few billion other humans would begin to think and act like I do.

    PS and By the way, LSD generally does not cause twitches in humans. Why would these complete morons use non humans as models for humans? Greed and the desire to feel important (i.e. get published, feel famous or talked about in the media, etc.). Pathetic.

    If anyone is interested in reading more about how twisted our present society is, please read the following in this order:
    Kevin Trudeau’s books “Natural Cures ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About,”,,, Robert Anton Wilson, Timothy Leary,

  5. Anonymous says:

    truly sickening, why not use the research already done by LEARY & his HARVARD pals. and test on severly willing deprssed people though research has already proven that individuals who’ve experienced psychotic breaks shouldn’t use these drugs. nothing short of sickening.

Return to article »

Latest Interviews

How To Make Inpatient Medical Practice Fun Again: Try Locum Tenens Work

It s no secret that most physicians are unhappy with the way things are going in healthcare. Surveys report high levels of job dissatisfaction burn out and even suicide. In fact some believe that up to a third of the US physician work force is planning to leave the profession…

Read more »

Caring For Winter Olympians In Sochi: An Interview With Team USA’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gloria Beim

I am a huge fan of the winter Olympics partly because I grew up in Canada where most kids can ski and skate before they can run and partly because I used to participate in Downhill ski racing. Now that I m a rehab physician with a reconstructed knee I…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

Richmond, VA – In an effort to simplify inpatient medical billing, one area hospitalist group has determined that “altered mental status” (ICD-9 780.97) is the most efficient code for use in any patient work up.

“When you enter a hospital, you’re bound to have some kind of mental status change,” said Dr. Fishbinder, co-partner of Area Hospitalists, PLLC. “Whether it’s confusion about where your room is located in relationship to the visitor’s parking structure, frustration with being woken up every hour or two to check your vital signs, or just plain old fatigue from being sick, you are not thinking as clearly as before you were admitted. And that’s all the justification we need to order anything from drug and toxin screens, to blood cultures, brain MRIs, tagged red blood cell nuclear scans, or cardiac Holter monitoring. There really is no limit to what we can pursue with our tests.”

Common causes of mental status changes in the elderly include medicine-induced cognitive side effects, disorientation due to disruption in daily routines, age-related memory impairment, and urinary tract infections.

“The urinalysis is not a very exciting medical test,” stated Dr. Fishbinder. “It doesn’t matter that it’s cheap, fast, and most likely to provide an explanation for strange behavior in hospitalized patients. It’s really not as elegant as the testing involved in a chronic anemia or metabolic encephalopathy work up. I keep it in my back pocket in case all other tests are negative, including brain MRIs and PET scans.”

Nursing staff at Richmond Medical Hospital report that efforts to inform hospitalists about foul smelling urine have generally fallen on deaf ears. “I have tried to tell the hospitalists about cloudy or bloody urine that I see in patients who are undergoing extensive work ups for mental status changes,” reports nurse Sandy Anderson. “But they insist that ‘all urine smells bad’ and it’s really more of a red herring.”

Another nurse reports that delay in diagnosing urinary tract infections (while patients are scheduled for brain MRIs, nuclear scans, and biopsies) can lead to worsening symptoms which accelerate and expand testing. “Some of my patients are transferred to the ICU during the altered mental status work up,” states nurse Anita Misra. “The doctors seem to be very excited about the additional technology available to them in the intensive care setting. Between the central line placement, arterial blood gasses, and vast array of IV fluid and medication options, urosepsis is really an excellent entré into a whole new level of care.”

“As far as medicine-induced mental status changes are concerned,” added Dr. Fishbinder, “We’ve never seen a single case in the past 10 years. Today’s patients are incredibly resilient and can tolerate mixes of opioids, anti-depressants, anti-histamines, and benzodiazepines without any difficulty. We know this because most patients have been prescribed these cocktails and have been taking them for years.”

Patient family members have expressed gratitude for Dr. Fishbinder’s diagnostic process, and report that they are very pleased that he is doing everything in his power to “get to the bottom” of why their loved one isn’t as sharp as they used to be.

“I thought my mom was acting strange ever since she started taking stronger pain medicine for her arthritis,” says Nelly Hurtong, the daughter of one of Dr. Fishbinder’s inpatients. “But now I see that there are deeper reasons for her ‘altered mental status’ thanks to the brain MRI that showed some mild generalized atrophy.”

Hospital administrators praise Dr. Fishbinder as one of their top physicians. “He will do whatever it takes to figure out the true cause of patients’ cognitive impairments.” Says CEO, Daniel Griffiths. “And not only is that good medicine, it is great for our Press Ganey scores and our bottom line.”

As for the nursing staff, Griffiths offered a less glowing review. “It’s unfortunate that our nurses seem preoccupied with urine testing and medication reconciliation. I think it might be time for us to mandate further training to help them appreciate more of the medical nuances inherent in quality patient care.”

Dr. Fishbinder is in the process of creating a half-day seminar on ‘altered mental status in the inpatient setting,’ offering CME credits to physicians who enroll. Richmond Medical Hospital intends to sponsor Dr. Fishbinder’s course, and franchise it to other hospitals in the state, and ultimately nationally.


Click here for a musical take on over-testing.

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

Unaccountable: A Book About The Underbelly Of Hospital Care

I met Dr. Marty Makary over lunch at Founding Farmers restaurant in DC about three years ago. We had an animated conversation about hospital safety the potential contribution of checklists to reducing medical errors and his upcoming book about the need for more transparency in the healthcare system. Marty was…

Read more »

See all book reviews »