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University of California, Los Angeles, CA
Ophthalmologist Steven Kaufman's statement on the scientific validity of Dario Ringach's Research
29 August 2006
Dear Mr. Budkie.
Thank you for allowing me to comment on the clinical
applicability of Dr. Ringach's research.
There has been a huge volume of research looking at
neural connections in the ocular pathways in animals. As a clinical
ophthalmologist, I have not found this relevant to practice. Amblyopia
involves abnormalities in these pathways, but the principals of
amblyopia management have been derived from human clinical practice, not
from the laboratory. For those interested in studying neural pathways,
it is possible to study these pathways safely and non-invasively in
humans, particularly with high-resolution functional MRI scans.
Functional MRI cannot yield exactly the same information of single-cell
studies, but it has the decided advantage of looking at the species that
interests us the most -- humans. I do not think it is reasonable for
people claim that the discontinuation of Dr. Ringach's animal
experiments will impair patient care.
I do not know whether Dr. Ringach's decision to
discontinue his animal experiments was due to genuine concern about the
ALF or for other reasons. We know that many people have left research
because they had difficulty getting funding or because they sought
greater financial rewards in the private sector.
Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.
Cochair, Medical Research Modernization Committee
See abstract of:
Spatial Overlap of ON and
OFF Subregions and Its Relation to Response Modulation Ratio in Macaque
Primary Visual Cortex
See abstract of:
Correlation of local and
global orientation and spatial frequency tuning in macaque V1
"This lab performed animal experiments involving pain or distress but no analgesics, anesthetics or pain relievers were administered."
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Rats, mice, birds, amphibians and other animals have
been excluded from coverage by the Animal Welfare Act. Therefore research
facility reports do not include these animals. As a result of this
situation, a blank report, or one with few animals listed, does not mean
that a facility has not performed experiments on non-reportable animals. A
blank form does mean that the facility in question has not used covered
animals (primates, dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, pigs,
sheep, goats, etc.). Rats and mice alone are believed to comprise over 90%
of the animals used in experimentation. Therefore the majority of animals
used at research facilities are not even counted.