International Association Against Painful Experiments on Animals

101 Misleading results from Vivisection Animal Experiments

92: Laboratory Animals Fail Stroke Victims

Following experiments on rabbits, dogs, gerbils and monkeys, animal researchers suggested that barbiturates could provide protection against the effects of a stroke.1 In human stroke victims, however, barbiturates had little or no protective effect.(2) This failure of animal tests is not an isolated example: between 1978 and 1988, 25 drugs were found useful in treating animals with artificially-induced stroke yet none has come into general clinical use.(2)

Stroke researchers are divided over the relevance of animal experiments(3) and some argue that "over-reliance upon such (animal) models may impede rather than advance scientific progress in the treatment of this disease... Each time one of these potential treatments is observed to be effective based upon animal research, it propagates numerous further animal and human studies consuming enormous amounts of time and effort to prove that the observation has little or no relevance to human disease or that it may have been an artifact of the animal model itself."(2)

Although defending the role of animal experiments, researchers at the Mayo Clinic conclude that "Ultimately... the answers to many of our questions regarding the underlying pathophysiology and treatment of stroke do not lie with continued attempts to model the human situation perfectly in animals but rather with the development of techniques to enable the study humans."(2)


1) Stroke, 1975, vol.6, 28-33; Stroke, 1974, vol.5, 1-7; Neurology, 1975, vol 25, 870-874; Stroke, 1972, vol.3, 726-732; Annals of Neurology, 1979, vol 5, 59-64.
2) D.O.Wiebers et al, Stroke, 1990, vol.21, 1-3.
3) C.Millikan, Stroke, 1992, vol.23, 795-797.

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