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what can animals tell us about psychiatry?

Psychiatry has made huge leaps in recent years as it has become ever more scientific in nature. Our understanding of disorders, drugs and therapies has grown dramatically, much of it through research with animals. But are mice and rats good models for these complex diseases, can depression in dogs really equate with depression in people, and how much does that matter?

A group of experts came along to the Science Media Centre to discuss issues such as:

  • Can other animals really become addicted, get depressed or even suffer from anxiety?
  • Are scientists over-extrapolating? Do we need to be more critical of claims being applied to humans?
  • How similar is the experience of a lab animal to what people feel? And how do we know?
  • Which lab animals are most suited to which disorders and why?
  • What have we learned from work in animals and what difference has that made?
  • What does the future have in store and are there areas that are close to reaching clinical trials in people?



Dr Sarah Bailey, Senior Lecturer, Department of Pharmacy and Psychopharmacology, University of Bath

Prof Graeme Henderson, Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Bristol and Vice President – Publications of the British Pharmacological Society

Dr Emma Robinson, Reader in Psychopharmacology, University of Bristol

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