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EU brain project & animal studies

As the EU-funded European Brain Research Area (EBRA) project nears a conclusion, Sabine Hölter, the co-ordinator of the Predictive Model Systems (PREMOS) cluster, has spoken about the importance of research using animals.

In a YouTube interview, during Brain Awareness Week, Sabine, of Helmholtz Munich, said: “Animals used have a translational value.. because they model the human condition or human disease, and that means they stand in for the human for scientific purposes, which is a long-standing practice in brain research.”

In its final report PREMOS has urged that basic neuroscience research using animals should be relevant for translation into human studies and that more comparisons between different animal species should be conducted.

The group also called for greater efforts to avoid unnecessary duplication (not wasting animals) by reinforcing access to animal models and their information, including negative results and that researchers should work more closely with clinical and preclinical scientists, and involve patients more. Previously, EBRA produced a report mapping brain research in Europe, which highlighted the importance of animal models:

  • In total, 3,874 brain research projects received funding between 2007 and 2019.

  • Animal models were was the most used research tool (1,400 projects), followed by neuroimaging and the animals used were monkeys, rodents, fruit flies, zebrafish, roundworms and bees.

  • The most researched diseases were Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and stroke.

  • The most popular brain research areas were Cognition and Behaviour, Neural Function and Sensory and Motor functions.

  • Most brain research projects were performed in Germany, UK, France, the Netherlands, and Italy.



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