Use of Animals in
Research into
Schizophrenia
Why use animals?
• Basically, in order to do research you wouldn’t
be able to do with humans for ethical reasons.
• Schizophrenia may be unique only to humans
• However, our hormonal system, nervous
system, brain structure is similar to animals
– E.g., Rats and humans have the same hind-, midand fore-brain
Animals and Schizophrenia
• How do researchers ‘give’ animals schizophrenia?
• Hyperactivity in rats is often induced by drugs (eg.
amphetamine) which are similar to the positive symptoms of
schizophrenia.
• Then, the rat might be given a medication (like Haldol) which
reduces symptoms by blocking dopamine receptors in the brain.
• This then helps understand how certain anti psychotic
medications work and how new medications can be developed.
• In fact, studies in rats showed researchers that psychosis in
humans is partly due to too much dopamine in the brain – which
then allowed medications to be developed to treat this chemical
imbalance.
Recap Genetic Explanation for
Schizophrenia
Recap Gottesman and Sheilds
(1991)
• A
• P
• R
• C
Evaluate the Genetic Explanation
for Schizophrenia
Wood et al., (1998)
• Aim: to look at how genes affect schizophrenia in
rats
• Method: Bred rats with a genetic variation
believed to be associated with schizophrenia in
humans.
• Results: Genetically modified rats were apathetic
and socially withdrawn (negative symptoms of
schizophrenia)
• Conclusion: Study supports the role of genes in
schizophrenia.
Recap
Dopamine Hypothesis for schizophrenia
Evaluate the
Dopamine Hypothesis for schizophrenia
Randrup and munkvad, (1966)
• Aim: to see whether schizophrenia-like symptoms
could be induce in non-human animals by giving
them amphetamines.
• Method: Injecting rats with doses of 1-20 mg/kg
of amphetamines. They then went on to test
chickens, pigeons, cats, dogs and squirrels.
• Results: All known symptoms of schizophrenia
were recorded including stereotypical activity.
• Conclusion: Study supports the Dopamine
Hypothesis of schizophrenia.
Evaluation
Evaluation of animal studies:
Strengths
• Important in developing new drugs that can
be used to treat symptoms of schizophrenia in
humans.
• Easy way to do experiments in order to
understand the role of genetics in
schizophrenia
• Can do research that would be ethically wrong
to do on humans
Evaluation of animal studies:
Weaknesses
• The nervous system between rats and humans
is not the same, and different parts of the
brain are different sizes (e.g., the fore-brain in
humans is huge and the cortex is larger)
• Cannot replicate schizophrenia in mice, only
approximate symptoms of schizophrenia
• Is it ethically okay to use animals for
psychological research?
Questions
• Why do researchers use animals to study
schizophrenia?
• What did Wood et al. (1998) find in their
study of rats and humans?
• What is one strength of using animals to
study schizophrenia?
• What is one weakness of using animals to
study schizophrenia?
Exam Questions
June 2010
a) Describe the symptoms of schizophrenia.
(4 marks).
(b) (i) Describe one explanation for schizophrenia.
(4 marks)
(ii) Evaluate the explanation for schizophrenia you have given in (b)(i).
(5 Marks)
(c) Describe one research method used to study schizophrenia.
(4 Marks)
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animals used in schizophrenia research ppt