September 14, 2011 | Chandler Marrs, PhD
Apparently, male rodents share enough in common with human females for researchers to extrapolate findings about the mechanisms and treatment of pain. A review of research in the journal Pain (2007) found that over a ten year period, fully 79% of all animal studies published, performed drug testing on male animals only. Only 8% of the published research included female animals and a mere 4% investigated the possible differences between males and females. The preponderance of male subjects in animal research is in stark contrast to the higher prevalence of women suffering from pain related disorders. I find it difficult to justify using male animals for drug research that will be translated to the female population, especially when the estrus and menstrual cycles influence so many pharmacokinetic variables. What do you think? How do the numbers stack up in other areas of research?
Greenspan et al. Pain. 2007 Nov;132 Suppl 1:S26-45. Epub 2007 Oct 25.
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