Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

Commentary: Lessons from the Analysis of Non-human Primates for Understanding Human Aging and Neurodegenerative Diseases ; by Andre Menache and Anne Beuter ; article published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience on 2 February 2016 (http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnhum.2016.00033/full). The authors challenge the utility of using nonhuman primates whose brains have been experimentally damaged by a toxic chemical to try to find new treatments for Parkinson’s Disease. The authors note that the so called « monkey model » was discovered well after the disease had been seen and studied in human patients, which casts serious doubts on some of the claims by animal researchers that the monkey was necessary in the development of electrical stimulation techniques used to treat Parkinson patients today. Even very recently, experimental electrical treatments that appeared effective in the laboratory using baboons failed to show any improvement in Parkinson patients in human clinical trials. In contrast to the animal studies, new treatments based on computer simulations and other non animal techniques are currently being developed.