Scientists (?) at the Medical College of Georgia have supposedly created another schizophrenic mouse. The idea, according to an article from the All Headline News service, is to reduce “the inhibition of brain cells involved in complex reasoning and decisions about appropriate behavior.”
The point here is that if we didn’t have coo-coo mice before, we do have them now, thanks to the wonders of modern science. Improvements in the name of progress, after all, must be made.
The question is how, when all sorts of ethical considerations go into the matter of cloning critters, those considerations fly out the window when you are dealing with the subject of serious so called “mental illness”?
Mary Godwin Shelley, wife of the romantic poet Percy Bysse Shelley, in the century before last penned the novel Frankenstein about a mad scientific venture to make a human being out of discarded body parts. This novel represented a moralistic critique of devastating attempts by science to improve on, or to change, what were seen as essientially the works of God or of nature.
This Franken-mouse from Georgia is not the first Franken-mouse ever created, no, that was created at Maryland’s John Hopkins University in 2007.
I imagine the Animal Rights Activists have many more serious issues to be concerned about than the manufacture of mad mice. Mice tend to be everywhere, as so many species make of them their breakfast, lunch and dinner. If I remember the psychology classes I took in college a few years back, there was this piece I was reading about cats being driven crazy by being kept from dreaming.
All the same, maybe someone should give them a call.
The reasoning behind this manufacture of mad mice is that it is thought that it might help somehow in our understanding and treatment of schizophrenia in human beings. This is presupposing that schizophrenia is mostly a matter of bad genetic make up, and botched bio-chemistry. If it was otherwise, then you might consider teaching those people who were acting out a little bit more self-control.
Nope, responsibility on an individual as well as a group level is still way beyond us as a species it would seem. There is so much more mice might be able to teach us about our kind.
Actually, and this is for real, the idea is to produce a schizophrenic mouse so that then drug companies might be able to test a new and up coming psychiatric drug on the mouse. Yeah, like we really need another one of those!
Whatever psychiatric drugs come of these experiments, now thanks to direct to consumer advertising and off label prescribing, you can expect to be constantly bombarded and annoyed by them on your TV screens and computer monitors everywhere (within the continental borders of the USA and New Zealand).
Franken-mouse 1/03/2010 Update
After reading another article on the subject, Schizophrenic mouse may help better understand and treat the disorder, I guess I need to clarify.
Scientists will be testing already developed drugs on their genetically engineered ‘schizophrenic’ rodents. I seriously doubt they will be able to do much with mice given neuroleptic drugs, but they have had what they regard as some success calming such animals with the benzodiazopine, also known as an anti-anxiety drug, diazepam. The response under these drugs to a sequence of noises, low followed by loud, was identical with that of ‘normal’ mice whereas it had been incomprehensible to the crazy mice before drugging. I imagine that sometime in the future ‘successful trials’ will translate into trials having been done on such psycho-mice.
I seriously doubt this will mean that the person labeled schizophrenic will be treated primarily with benzodiazopines any time soon. If anxiety in the ‘patient’/inmate consumer is a large measure of the problem, it’s also a matter of alarm for the custodian ‘care provider’. Instead I find it highly likely that benzodiazopines will be added to the drug cocktails psychiatrically labeled ‘patient’/inmate consumers are prescribed.
Will we have mice on drug cocktails? Perhaps, but I seriously doubt any nutty mouse behavior on a drug cocktail will be up there with the non-drugged non-genetically engineered ‘normal’ mouse.
If you were anticipating any long term trials, forget it! Mice don’t live that long.