Inner space, the last frontier?

I love science. I love scientists for they are like writers exploring unknown territory, methodologically bringing us into new realities and fascinating discoveries. Things previously thought impossible or unknown to us simple mortals. Although most of us have no problem following a writer's story, when it comes to science it is not as easy. The story must be explained, put into context, potentially linked with other stories for it to make sense, in other words vulgarized. Nothing wrong with that but so necessary, else who would understand research and its importance?

If research is not explained the results are seen here and lay people make up their minds without your input. Decisions are made without asking about the consequences for what it is you do isn't known, ignored or even worse perceived as not important, vile or cruel. You might just be the next budget cut! Still think you can afford not to write about what it is you do, how and why? Will research be the next victim of NIMBY?

Yet research is and always has been the last frontier. Research looks for clues and attempts to answer questions. One such last frontier is inner space, like that found in our brains and the functioning thereof. Our most magical and yet least understood organ. Believe it or not, it is through the use of animals such as amongst others, worms (Caenorhabditis elegans), fruit flies (Drosophila), dogs (yes Beagles usually), rats and mice as well as non human primates, that progress is made. If you are following 'personalized medicine' and the need for better more effective treatments you realize that animal research will continue to be a critical part in the search for answers.  As is the case here in our fight against Malaria.

Image courtesy of Understanding Animal Research

Coming back to the brain's functioning this article explains how neuroscientists rely on rat studies , or default to rat studies as one understands later on, to  understand basic mechanisms.  As importantly the article underlines the importance of this research towards those that are paralyzed or missing limbs.
Particularly for individuals who have lost a limb or been partially or fully paralyzed, this work is a critical pursuit with potentially life-changing results — enabling such amazing biotechnological advances as the development of a brain-computer interface for controlling prosthetic limbs.
And warns us of the importance of other animal models such as chimpanzees and other non human primates in the paragraph called Ethological considerations (quoted below).
Image courtesy of Understanding Animal Research

Without an abundance of human subjects, scientists' next-best option for research is our closest relative, the chimpanzee; but since primate research is highly restricted, controversial, and prohibitively expensive, scientists often turn to studying other model organisms such as the rat. In many instances, data obtained from these model organisms can be translated to primate models and then to humans; but in such cases, scientists must make certain ethological considerations to ensure the validity of their conclusions.
If you or a relative of yours is affected by a disfunctioning , disease or disorder of the brain - in this regard did you know there are  more than 400 neurological disorders - you may just want to get active and voice your ongoing support towards animal research for medical progress hinges on it.

The least one can do is to sign the petition to make sure our scientists such as Jared Smith and Kevin Alloway continue to explore our inner space and to push the borders of this frontier for the benefit of those affected by Parkinson's, Alzheimers, those that are paraplegic or suffer from spinal cord injuries, have lost a limb etc... you get it the list is way too long and the needs so pressing! You can also join associations such as Americans for Medical Progress,  Canadians for Health Research or similar orgs around you to donate and support their activities.

As always and on behalf of a silent majority, thank you Jared and thank you Kevin. May the force be with you!


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