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Stop Animal Exploitation NOW!
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"Exposing the truth to wipe out animal experimentation"

Government Grants Promoting Cruelty to Animals

Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

MELINDA A. NOVAK - Primate Testing - 2006

Grant Number: 5R24RR011122-10
Project Title: Self-Injurious Behavior and Primate Well-Being
PI Information: PROFESSOR MELINDA A. NOVAK, [email protected] 

This abstract is not available.

Thesaurus Terms:
There are no thesaurus terms on file for this project.

BOSTON, MA 02115
Fiscal Year: 2006
Department: PSYCHIATRY
Project Start: 30-SEP-1996
Project End: 31-JUL-2010

Front Biosci. 2005 Jan 1;10:1-11.

The physiology and neurochemistry of self-injurious behavior: a nonhuman primate model.

Tiefenbacher S, Novak MA, Lutz CK, Meyer JS.

Division of Behavioral Biology, New England Primate Research Center, Harvard Medical School, Southborough, MA 01772, USA. [email protected] <[email protected]>

Self-injurious behavior (SIB) is a serious behavioral condition that afflicts millions of individuals in the United States alone. The underlying factors contributing to the development of self-injury in people are poorly understood, and existing treatment strategies for this condition are limited. A low but persistent percentage of socially reared individually housed rhesus monkeys also spontaneously develop SIB. Data obtained from colony records suggest that the risk of developing SIB in socially reared rhesus monkeys is heightened by adverse early experience and subsequent stress exposure. The present review summarizes the physiological and neurochemical findings obtained in this nonhuman primate model of SIB, focusing on monoamine neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, and neuroendocrine systems. The results indicate that monkeys with SIB exhibit long-lasting disturbances in central and peripheral opioid and stress response systems, which lead to increased levels of anxiety. Based on these findings, we propose an integrated developmental-neurochemical hypothesis in which SIB arises from adverse life events in a subset of vulnerable monkeys, is maintained by a persisting dysregulation of several neurochemical and physiological systems, and functions to periodically reduce anxiety when the levels of anxiety become excessive. Implications of this hypothesis for understanding self-injury in patients with borderline personality disorder and members of the general population are discussed.
PMID: 15576335 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Comp Med. 2005 Aug;55(4):387-92. Links

The efficacy of diazepam treatment for the management of acute wounding episodes in captive rhesus macaques.

Tiefenbacher S, Fahey MA, Rowlett JK, Meyer JS, Pouliot AL, Jones BM, Novak MA.

New England Primate Research Center, Harvard Medical School, Southborough, Massachusetts 017721, USA.

The spontaneous development of self-injurious behavior (SIB) in singly housed monkeys poses a challenge for their management and well-being in captivity. Relatively little information is available on effective treatments for SIB. This study examined the effects of diazepam (Valium) on self-wounding and other abnormal behaviors in eight individually housed male rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta). Each monkey's response to an anxiolytic dose of diazepam (1 mg/kg or greater orally) was compared with the animal's behavior during drug-free periods. When examined across all animals, treatment with diazepam did not significantly alter wounding frequency or rates of self-directed biting without wounding. However, closer examination of the data revealed that four of the animals showed significant decreases in self-biting and wounding frequency (positive responders, PR group), whereas the remaining monkeys showed a trend towards increased wounding frequency (negative responders, NR group). Subsequent examination of colony and veterinary records demonstrated that compared with NR monkeys, PR monkeys had spent significantly more years in individual cage housing and had experienced a greater number of minor veterinary procedures. PR animals also were significantly less likely to have a documented history of self-biting behavior. Our findings suggest that SIB is not a homogeneous disorder in rhesus monkeys; rather, distinct subtypes exist that require different treatment approaches.

Biol Psychiatry. 2007 Dec 27 [Epub ahead of print

A Rhesus Monkey Model of Self-Injury: Effects of Relocation Stress on Behavior and Neuroendocrine Function.

Davenport MD, Lutz CK, Tiefenbacher S, Novak MA, Meyer JS.

Division of Behavioral Biology, New England Primate Research Center, Harvard Medical School, Southborough, Massachusetts; Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Twenty adult male rhesus macaques were exposed to the stress of relocation to a new housing arrangement in a newly constructed facility. Daytime behavior, sleep, and multiple measures of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis function were investigated before and after the move. RESULTS: Relocation induced a complex pattern of short- and long-term effects in the animals. The SIB animals showed a long-lasting increase in self-biting behavior, as well as evidence of sleep disturbance. Both groups exhibited elevated cortisol levels in saliva, serum, and hair, and also an unexpected delayed increase in circulating concentrations of corticosteroid binding globulin (CBG). 

Please email: MELINDA A. NOVAK, [email protected] to protest the inhumane use of animals in this experiment. We would also love to know about your efforts with this cause: [email protected]

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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.

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