Smoking and drinking: Animal research has produced a mass of confusing and contradictory results which have hampered medical progress.
One of the most striking examples of wasted resources is the use of animals in alcohol research. Although the damaging effects of alcohol have been known for a long time, further insights can be obtained through clinical studies with alcoholics or with human tissues from biopsy samples and autopsy specimens. Nevertheless animal research continues unabated despite conflicting results. For instance, while alcohol-induced cirrhosis of the liver is a main cause of sickness and death in Western society, scientists have had great difficulty reproducing the effects in laboratory animals. Only in baboons has cirrhosis been induced42 although even this finding has now been challenged.(43) Alcohol is also known to raise blood pressure but this is not the case in laboratory animals.(44) And while some people react violently after excessive drinking, many animal experiments have failed to show an increase in aggressive behavior.(45)
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