I am appalled that Washington State University is conducting experiments that inflict prolonged trauma on rats, claiming to provide human-relevant insight into treating PTSD.
PTSD is a uniquely human condition and despite millions of dollars and years of research spent studying it with animals, little to no insight has been gained to treat PTSD.
It’s important to note that while millions of people currently suffer from PTSD, less than 10% receive highly effective, evidence-based therapies recommended by the Department of Veterans Affairs to treat PTSD.
Treatments like cognitive therapies, which have been shown to have a better than 77% success rate, go underfunded, while cruel experiments on animals continue, this one with the support of the U.S. Department of Defense.
According to one study, when PTSD patients received cognitive therapies, cost-effectiveness was increased by 150% over other methods. This measure could save nearly $138 million a year.
Rather than waste money on experiments that intentionally inflict trauma on animals, PTSD funding should go towards disseminating effective treatments to patients.
Moreover, research into the neurobiology of PTSD should make use of modern technologies that accurately study human physiology. Techniques like non-invasive neuroimaging, for example, provide a direct way of looking at the human brain to study PTSD.
With over 90% of behavioral neuroscience results from animals failing to translate to humans, it’s time to end these wasteful and disturbing experiments at Washington State University and instead direct funding to therapies and research that will benefit those suffering the devastating effects of PTSD.