Debunking the Notion That Proton-Pump Inhibitors Cause Bacterial Overgrowth.


A large, retrospective study using glucose hydrogen breath testing found no association.

Whether or not alterations in the gastric pH level increase susceptibility for enteric infections has long been debated. Proton-pump inhibitor (PPI) use, which causes such alterations, has been linked with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), a condition associated with bloating, diarrhea, and malabsorption (Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2010; 8:504). However, findings across multiple studies are mixed.

To evaluate if the prevalence of SIBO differs between PPI users and nonusers, investigators retrospectively reviewed charts of 1191 consecutive patients who underwent glucose hydrogen breath testing (GHBT) for SIBO during a 6-year period at a single tertiary care center. Primary indications for GHBT included bloating, dyspepsia, or gas (507 patients); diarrhea (337); abdominal pain (166); and nausea, vomiting, or both (55). Most patients (70%) were female, about half (48%) were taking a PPI, and 81% had been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome. Breath samples for both hydrogen (H2) and methane were collected before ingestion of 50 g of oral glucose and every 20 minutes for 2 hours after ingestion. A positive GHBT result was assessed using four different cutoff values.

GHBT positivity was not associated with PPI use. However, it was associated with older age (adjusted odds ratio, 1.03; 95% confidence interval, 1.01–1.04 using a cutoff of H2 >20 parts per million), use of antidiarrheal medication (adjusted OR, 1.99; 95% CI, 1.15–3.44 using a cutoff of H2 >20 ppm), and with diarrhea (adjusted OR, 1.53; 95% CI, 1.13–2.09 using a cutoff of H2 >10 ppm).

Comment: The diagnosis of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth remains limited by the lack of a gold standard test. In this study, the use of multiple clinical criteria to define glucose hydrogen breath test positivity, well-defined demographics, and a large (a priori calculated) sample size are methodological strengths and represent improvements over prior studies. These methodological differences — especially variability in diagnostic test criteria — as well as variable geography and dietary intake most likely explain disparate study results.

Source: Journal Watch Gastroenterology

Remote-controlled protein factories.


Engineered bacterial cells can churn out medically useful proteins such as insulin, the blood-clotting agent thrombin, and a host of other human enzymes and hormones. Plants, yeast and even other mammals can be given the genes needed to produce valuable proteins that they don’t make naturally. Most famously, even notoriously, genetically modified goats can secrete spider silk in their milk, which can be extracted and used to make tough fibres.

But in many ways this is taking a sledgehammer to a nut. If all you want is a particular protein – whose chemical structure in encoded within a gene in DNA – then even a bacterium is an awfully complicated bit of machinery to make it. Strictly speaking, all you really need to do the job are the DNA itself, the amino acids from which proteins are made, and the molecular machinery for translating DNA into proteins – in particular, an assembly of proteins and RNA called a ribosome, which builds the new protein molecules.

With this in mind, a team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, USA, led by chemical engineer Daniel Anderson, has figured out how to make artificial cells which they can stuff with these basic molecular components. In doing so they have produced tiny protein factories that are not strictly living in themselves but are free from the general clutter – and the consequent unpredictability – of real organisms. The factories are so small that in theory a solution of such pseudo-cells can be injected into the body to act as on-the-spot generators of therapeutic proteins, such as toxic drugs or antibodies. And – this is the especially neat part – the researchers have worked out how to turn protein production on and off using ultraviolet light, so that it can be controlled to order.

Spontaneous generation

These pseudo-cells, called vesicles, are tiny – about a tenth the length of an E. coli bacterium. Vesicles form spontaneously in a solution of molecules called lipids, which are the main components of the biological membranes that enclose a cell’s contents. Lipids are a little like soap molecules, with a water-soluble ‘head’ and an insoluble ‘tail’. They will line up side-by-side in double layers with the heads on the outside and the tails inside. These sheets curl up into hollow sacs.

Anderson and colleagues let vesicles form in an extract of E. coli cells containing all of their DNA, ribosomes, other enzymes and salts, so that these ingredients get trapped inside. To show that the machinery was in working order, the researchers inserted two types of molecular ‘lanterns’ into the DNA – genes for making proteins called GFP, which glows under ultraviolet light, or luciferase, which glows when it catalyses a chemical reaction. In both cases, the vesicles shone brightly.

The next step was to switch protein production on and off. There is a tried and tested way of doing this with light, which involves adding a molecule with a complicated name abbreviated to DMNPE. This sticks to DNA and stops the process that translates its genes into proteins – the DNA is then said to be ‘caged’. But UV light cleaves off the DMNPE and restores protein production. The researchers showed that luciferase-encoding DNA in the vesicles could be turned off by DMNPE and turned back on by UV light.

Life switch

To show that these protein-making particles work in living organisms, Anderson and colleagues injected these luciferase-making, DMNPE-switchable vesicles into mice. Applying UV light (which can penetrate at least a centimetre into tissue) to the site of injection triggered the appearance of the light-emitting protein, which persisted even 24 hours after injection. Previously, the only comparable in situ production of proteins in the body has been achieved by injecting mice with harmless bacteria engineered to make tumour-suppressing proteins. The artificial vesicles are in principle much simpler, smaller, and easier to design and control.

Although the MIT team is focusing on the biomedical implications of the work, these artificial compartments that contain DNA and make proteins sound a little bit like synthetic cells – a kind of scratch-built proto-lifeform. They’re not really that, because they can’t replicate and evolve, nor even metabolize raw materials and generate their own energy indefinitely. They’re barely more than inert bags of DNA.

All the same, it’s not spurious to raise the question of synthetic life. The high-profile reports of self-replicating ‘synthetic cells’ created by geneticist Craig Venter and colleagues in 2010 were basically natural cells given a new, bespoke genome. But what about working from the bottom up?

Researchers have previously produced a kind of replicating vesicle with walls that self-assemble from lipids, and which can grow in size and divide. Meanwhile, in 2004 two researchers at the Rockefeller Universityin New York created lipid vesicles rather similar to those of the MIT group that also encapsulated DNA and ribosomes extracted from real cells. They added genes encoding proteins that form pore-like channels that will plug into lipid membranes, so that amino acids for protein synthesis could get into the vesicles while waste products could get out. These artificial cells could then go on producing fluorescent proteins for days.

With little steps like these, we edge closer towards a bottom-up creation of life. There’s a long way to go – but we’re living proof that it’s possible.

Source: BBC

 

Scientists have identified why a once-promising class of drugs do not help people with multiple sclerosis.


An Oxford University team say a genetic variant linked to MS means the drugs which work for patients with other autoimmune diseases will not work for them.

The team, writing in Nature, say the drugs can actually make symptoms worse.

Experts say the work shows how a person’s genetic make-up could affect how they responded to treatment.

The drugs, called anti-TNFs, work for patients with rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, but they have not done so for patients with MS and researchers were unsure why.

Mimicking

The Oxford University team looked at one particular genetic variant, found in a gene called TNFRSF1A, which has previously been associated with the risk of developing MS.

The normal, long version of the protein sits on the surface of cells and binds the TNF signalling molecule, which is important for a number of processes in the body.

But the team discovered the variant caused the production of an altered, shortened version which “mops up” TNF, preventing it from triggering signals – essentially the same thing that TNF blocking drugs do.

This explains why a study 10 years ago found the drugs make MS patients significantly worse and exacerbate the disease, the researchers suggest.

Professor Lars Fugger of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, who led the work, said: “The hope has been that analyses of the whole human genome would lead to findings that are clinically relevant.

“We show that this is possible. It’s one of the first such examples, certainly in autoimmune disease.”

He added: ‘Whilst the TNFRSF1A gene variant is linked to a modest risk of developing MS, the drug that mimics the effect of the variant has a considerably greater impact.

“The effects of genetic variants influencing disease risk or resistance can be amplified by drugs. This has often been completely overlooked, but will be critical for using genetic findings in a medical context.”

Nick Rijke, director of policy and research at the MS Society, said: “There are many genes associated with MS, but we know little about the role they play or the influence they have on the condition.

“This important study has shown that some of your genes can play a part in deciding whether or not you respond to a treatment.

“In the future this could help ensure that people with MS are offered the drug treatments that are most likely to work for them.”

Source: BBC

Meteosat launches to maintain Europe’s weather services.


The latest spacecraft in Europe’s long-running Meteosat series has just gone into orbit on an Ariane rocket.

It is now being manoeuvred into a position some 36,000km above the Earth from where it can keep a constant watch on developing weather systems.

The spacecraft is the 10th Meteosat platform to go into service since 1977.

Its pictures will soon be feeding into the daily forecasts provided to the public by national meteorological agencies right across Europe.

“Verification and testing of the satellite’s systems will take two months. We expect to publish the first image on 6 August,” said Alain Ratier, the director-general of Eumetsat, the intergovernmental organisation based in Darmstadt, Germany, that is charged with operating Europe’s weather platforms.

Thursday’s ascent to orbit from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana lasted some 34 minutes.

When it came off the Ariane’s upper-stage, the satellite was moving in a stretched ellipse around the planet, running from an altitude of 250km out to 35,950km.

Controllers at the European Space Operations Centre (Esoc), also in Darmstadt, will need to circularise that path in the coming 10 days.

They are targeting a geostationary observing position at zero degrees longitude, over the Gulf of Guinea on the Equator.

The satellite’s orbital speed will be matched to that of the Earth’s rotation, giving the platform’s sensors a constant view of Europe and Africa.

The Meteosats are now into the “second generation” (MSG) of design. This was introduced in 2002 to substantially increase the flow and quality of information to Europe’s forecasters. And Meteosat-10 is the third in that particular series (MSG-3).

As on the two antecedents, the primary instrument on the two-tonne Meteosat-10 is the Spinning Enhanced Visible and Infrared Imager, or Seviri.

It builds its pictures of evolving meteorological systems, line by line, by spinning across the field of view.

Data is acquired at 12 different wavelengths, tracing information such as cloud movement and changing temperature.

“Meteosat gives you a very good view of the weather happening right now,” explained Dr John Eyre, head of satellite applications at the UK’s Met Office.

“It gives you these movie loops of images showing you the clouds as they develop. It’s for what we call ‘nowcasting’, and we can use that information to extrapolate forwards for the next few hours,” he told BBC News.

The two currently operational MSGs are used in distinct ways.

Meteosat-9 builds images of the entire field of view – a full Earth disc – in 15 minutes, while Meteosat-8 rapidly scans a smaller area covering Europe, to provide imagery in just five minutes.

This allows the weather agencies to better follow the development of powerful and potentially dangerous thunderstorms in Eumetsat member states.

  • Meteosats are spin stabilised spacecraft, and their visible and infrared imagers build up pictures line by line, south to north
  • One platform – currently Meteosat-8, which was launched in 2002 – makes an image of Europe (A) every five minutes
  • Meteosat-9 (B), launched in 2005, scans the full Earth disc. One image every 15 minutes comes down to controllers
  • The satellites report the current status of the weather. Forecasters use this information as a check against modelled predictions

“Assuming it comes through its commissioning, Metosat-10 is destined to image the full Earth disc, and that means Meteosat-9 will then take on the rapid scan role,” said Michael Williams, who heads Eumetsat’s control centre division.

“It’s possible Meteosat-8 may eventually be moved to the Indian Ocean to assume observing duties there, if that’s what our member states decide.”

This is a big year for Europe’s weather agencies. Not only are they getting a new geostationary Meteosat, they will also see the launch of a new polar orbiting meteorological platform in September called Metop-B.

The next satellite in the Metop series is due to launch in September.

This spacecraft is arguably even more important than Meteosat-10. Metop will circle the Earth a few hundred kilometres above the ground, sampling the different layers in the atmosphere. Its data will feed into the numerical models that forecast likely weather conditions 24 hours to a few days ahead.

Its antecedent, Metop-A has made a major contribution to the improvement of these predictions, and Metop-B will maintain the data stream.

Eumetsat and its R&D partner, the European Space Agency, are also putting in place the 3bn-euro programme to succeed Metop at the end of the decade.

The Eumetsat Council has been meeting in Darmstadt to finalise details of the scientific instrumentation that will fly on the next-generation spacecraft.

Thursday’s gathering decided to include an Ice Cloud Imager (ICI) among the 10-instrument payload.

This will have been most keenly followed in the UK and in Spain where industrial consortia are very interested in building the instrument.

The Ariane rocket also deployed Hughes’ Echostar 17 broadband satellite

Britain’s Met Office has already been engaged in the design of prototype technology that can be tested on a plane.

ICI will see ice crystals forming in the high atmosphere, a phenomenon that influences the amount of solar radiation reflected back into space.

“This microwave imager will see ice crystals in cirrus clouds, which have a critical impact on the greenhouse effect,” said Alain Ratier.

“These crystals are semi-transparent and are therefore very difficult to see with Meteosat and infrared techniques. This instrument will be important for climate studies,” he told BBC News.

The Ariane deployed two satellites during Thursday’s flight. The second “passenger” was the the 6.1-tonne Echostar 17 spacecraft. Owned by Hughes Network Systems, this telecommunications platform will provide internet broadband services to North American markets.

Echostar 17 is one of the most powerful satellites of its type ever put in space.

Its total data throughput exceeds more than 100 gigabits per second, enabling Hughes to sell wide-bandwidth products to its customers.

Source:BBC.

Most realistic’ robot legs developed.


US experts have developed what they say are the most biologically-accurate robotic legs yet.

Writing in the Journal of Neural Engineering, they said the work could help understanding of how babies learn to walk – and spinal-injury treatment.

They created a version of the message system that generates the rhythmic muscle signals that control walking.

A UK expert said the work was exciting because the robot mimics control and not just movement.

The team, from the University of Arizona, were able to replicate the central pattern generator (CPG) – a nerve cell (neuronal) network in the lumbar region of the spinal cord that generates rhythmic muscle signals.

The CPG produces, and then controls, these signals by gathering information from different parts of the body involved in walking, responding to the environment.

This is what allows people to walk without thinking about it.

The simplest form of a CPG is called a half-centre, which consists of just two neurons that fire signals alternately, producing a rhythm, as well as sensors that deliver information, such as when a leg meets a surface, back to the half-centre.

‘New approach’

The University of Arizona team suggests babies start off with this simplistic set-up – and then over time develop a more complex walking pattern.

They say this could explain why babies put onto a treadmill have been seen to take steps – even before they have learnt to walk.

 “Start Quote

“The implications for increased understanding of, for example, patients with spinal cord injury are very exciting”

Writing in the journal, the team says: “This robot represents a complete physical, or ‘neurorobotic’ model of the system, demonstrating the usefulness of this type of robotics research for investigating the neuropsychological processes underlying walking in humans and animals”.

Dr Theresa Klein, who worked on the study, said: “Interestingly, we were able to produce a walking gait, without balance, which mimicked human walking with only a simple half-centre controlling the hips and a set of reflex responses controlling the lower limb.

“This underlying network may also form the core of the CPG and may explain how people with spinal cord injuries can regain walking ability if properly stimulated in the months after the injury.”

Matt Thornton, gait analysis laboratory manager at the UK’s Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, said the work was “an interesting development”.

He added: “Previous robotic models have mimicked human movement: this one goes further and mimics the underlying human control mechanisms driving that movement.

“It may offer a new approach to investigate and understand the link between nervous system control problems and walking pathologies.”

Mr Thornton said existing systems for analysing how people walk, so-called gait analysis performed by the RNOH and others, accurately measure hip, knee, and ankle joint movements in 3D while patients walk on a treadmill. Patients react differently, depending on their condition.

He added: “At present this type of analysis provides us with detailed information about the joints, bones and muscles.

“The robotic model may go one step further in linking these problems to the nervous system, which actually controls the movement.

“The implications for increased understanding of, for example, patients with spinal cord injury are very exciting.”

Source:BBC.

Combined Haemophilus influenzae respiratory infection and allergic airways disease drives chronic infection and features of neutrophilic asthma.


20–30% of patients with asthma have neutrophilic airway inflammation and reduced responsiveness to steroid therapy. They often have chronic airway bacterial colonisation and Haemophilus influenzae is one of the most commonly isolated bacteria. The relationship between chronic airway colonisation and the development of steroid-resistant neutrophilic asthma is unclear.

Objectives To investigate the relationship between H influenzae respiratory infection and neutrophilic asthma using mouse models of infection and ovalbumin (OVA)-induced allergic airways disease.

Methods BALB/c mice were intratracheally infected with H influenzae (day 10), intraperitoneally sensitised (day 0) and intranasally challenged (day 12–15) with OVA. Treatment groups were administered dexamethasone intranasally during OVA challenge. Infection, allergic airways disease, steroid sensitivity and immune responses were assessed (days 11, 16 and 21).

Results The combination of H influenzae infection and allergic airways disease resulted in chronic lung infection that was detected on days 11, 16 and 21 (21, 26 and 31 days after infection). Neutrophilic allergic airways disease and T helper 17 cell development were induced, which did not require active infection. Importantly, all features of neutrophilic allergic airways disease were steroid resistant. Toll-like receptor 4 expression and activation of phagocytes was reduced, but most significantly the influx and/or development of phagocytosing neutrophils and macrophages into the airways was inhibited.

Conclusions The combination of infection and allergic airways disease promotes bacterial persistence, leading to the development of a phenotype similar to steroid-resistant neutrophilic asthma and which may result from dysfunction in innate immune cells. This indicates that targeting bacterial infection in steroid-resistant asthma may have therapeutic benefit.

Source: BMJ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overtreatment rates for monitoring BP in vets with diabetes similar to undertreatment rates.


The Department of Veterans Affairs and other health systems are overtreating veterans with diabetes and hypertension, according to a study that examined treatment rates.

“While there is no doubt that appropriate management of hypertension among patients with diabetes is of critical importance, our data suggest that the VA and other high-performing health systems may have reached the point when threshold measures for BP control have the potential to do more harm than good,” researchers wrote.

Eve A. Kerr, MD, MPH, professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan, director of the Center for Clinical Management Research, and research director of the VA Quality Enhancement Research Initiative for Diabetes Mellitus, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study in 879 VA medical centers and community-based outpatient clinics.

The cohort included patients aged 18 to 75 years or with a diabetes diagnosis in the 24 months before eligibility to participate in the study. Measurements took place between July 1, 2009, and June 30, 2010. The threshold was set at less than 140/90 mm Hg.

Of the 977,282 patients measured, 713,790 were eligible for the “action measure,” in which 94% passed. Eighty-two percent had an index BP lower than 140/90 mm Hg, and another 8% met the measure with medication intensification, researchers wrote.

In an accompanying editorial, Eileen Handberg, PhD, of the department of CV medicine at the University of Florida, Gainesville, said reporting performance measures is important, and the study by Kerr and colleagues is a substantial step toward understanding the complex nature of hypertension management.

“However, reporting and evaluating performance measures must ensure that performance is linked to guidelines at the time of performance,” Handberg wrote.

Of all patients with diabetes, 197,291 (20%) had BP lower than 130/65 mm Hg, and 80,903 (8%) of those patients had overtreatment, researchers concluded.

Additionally, VA and other health systems with higher rates meeting the threshold measure (,140/90 mm Hg) had an increased rate for possible overtreatment, they said.

“This represents a dramatic improvement in BP control over the past decade, during which there has also been an intense focus on performance measures, guidelines, and quality improvement initiatives related to BP control,” researchers wrote.

For more information:

Handberg E. Arch Intern Med. 2012;doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.2261.

Kerr EA. Arch Intern Med. 2012;doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.2253.

Perspective

 

David S. H. Bell

  • For years, we have been concerned with undertreatment of diabetic hypertension. To my knowledge, this is the first study to record an overtreatment (3% to 20%). Certainly, there is no advantage and potential harm to treating to levels below 130/65 mm Hg. Now, we should probably ‘curb our enthusiasm.’

If you overtreat systolic hypertension, especially in older people, it can have adverse renal consequences. It can actually worsen kidney disease instead of improving it. Lowering diastolic pressure below 70 mm Hg in the same group may also decrease filling of coronary arteries and, therefore, have adverse cardiac effect.

    • David S. H. Bell, MD, FACE, FACP
    • Endocrine Today Editorial Board member
      Professor of Medicine
      University of Alabama School of Medicine, Birmingham
      Southside Endocrinology

 

Source: Endocine Today.

 

 

Insulin resistance may precede obesity in children born post-term.


Children who were born post-term experienced insulin resistance, particularly boys who had additional features of metabolic syndrome. Researchers speculate that this insulin resistance is a preface to obesity, according to their data presented at The Endocrine Society’s 94th Annual Meeting and Expo.

Ahila Ayyavoo, MBBS, clinical research fellow at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and colleagues sought to prove that prepubertal children born post-term display features of metabolic syndrome.

The study included two groups of prepubertal children aged 4 to 11 years. The post-term group (n=36) were born after 42 weeks of gestation, and the control group (n=56) were born at 38 to 40 weeks.

Data for boys and girls were studied separately. After an overnight fast, researchers conducted a frequently sampled IV glucose tolerance test with insulin. They studied biochemical markers of metabolic syndrome and used Bergman’s minimal model for calculating insulin sensitivity. Besides the overnight fast, they examined the children’s blood pressure during a 24-hour period.

According to data, insulin sensitivity was reduced in post-term boys (n=18; P=.014) and girls (n=18; P=.046) compared with the control group. Although there was an increase in acute insulin response in post-term boys (P=.009), there was no increase in post-term girls (P=.65). Additionally, insulin-like growth factor I was found to be lower in post-term boys (P=.027) and girls (P=.08). Further evidence suggested metabolic syndrome in post-term boys, as indicated by elevated IGF-III (P=.027) and a decrease in nocturnal systolic BP (P<.0001) and nocturnal diastolic BP (P<.004).

Dyslipidemia was reported in post-term boys, with higher total cholesterol (P=.058), LDL (P=.069) and triglycerides (P=.088) vs. boys who were born at 38 to 40 weeks, the researchers wrote.

Moreover, post-term boys displayed higher serum leptin (P=.056), regardless of similar body composition of boys born at 38 to 40 weeks (P=.47).

Source: Endocine Today.

 

Relaxin improved cognitive, general recovery after stroke.


Patients treated with the hormone relaxin after a stroke showed marked improvements in function and cognition, suggesting a new therapeutic approach in reducing disability resulting from neurovascular ischemic disease.

Psychoneurological disabilities occur frequently in patients who survive a stroke, researchers wrote in a cohort study conducted in Italy. Relaxin is thought to have protective properties on experimental ischemia in the heart and brain and has the potential to improve brain function, they said.

Paolo Milia, MD, of the department of neurology at Prosperius Institute in Umbertide, Italy, and colleagues randomly assigned 36 post-stroke patients to two groups. Patients aged 64 to 79 years (n=18; 50% men) underwent rehabilitation and received oral porcine relaxin (Vitalaxin Plus, Sky BioHealth) at 40 mg per day (group RLX+R). The remainder of patients (n=18; 50% men), aged 64 to 78 years, received rehabilitation only (group R).

Researchers analyzed all of the patients at admission, 20 days and 40 days, and they studied the groups using the Functional Independence Measure for daily activity, the Trail Making Test for cognitive function and modified Rankin Scale for global function. Additional tests were conducted to compare categorical and continuous variables.

Patients in the RLX+R group displayed improved general conditions and resistance to afford rehabilitation exercises during the trial, researchers wrote. Although Functional Independence Measure scores showed no significant differences between the groups after 20 days, patients in the RLX+R group presented improved recovery after 40 days (P<.001).

Similarly, cognitive function showed signs of improvement in the RLX+R group after 20 days (P<.002) and continued to improve at 40 days (P<.001). Researchers also found that patients in the RLX+R group at 20 days and 40 days experienced improved global function (both P<.001).

Based on these data, researchers concluded that relaxin was safe and efficacious, with significant improvement to psychoneurological recovery of patients who have previously experienced a stroke.

Relaxin could be used as a new therapeutic and preventive drug in reducing incidence and disability as it relates to neurovascular ischemic disease, they wrote.

Source: Endocine Today.

 

 

Two More Medical Schools End Live Animal Labs.


The Medical College of Wisconsin and the University of Virginia finally ended the use of animals in the training of medical students. PCRM members and supporters made these victories possible, and with your help we will end the last five medical school animal laboratories.

PCRM first sent letters to MCW that explained the benefits of replacing the use of dogs in its physiology course with nonanimal methods. In 2007, after PCRM filed complaints with the federal government and led large demonstrations outside the medical school, MCW replaced dogs with pigs. After continued pressure, MCW ended its use of live pigs and piloted a human- and computer-based program, but still used rabbits, frogs, and rats. PCRM continued to urge MCW to end all animal use. Finally, on June 5, 2012, MCW announced that next year’s medical student curriculum will include no animal labs.

The following day, the University of Virginia School of Medicine informed us of the end of all animal use in its medical school curriculum. The last to go was a laboratory exercise using 120 rats per year to teach microsurgery to medical students.

PCRM continues to urge the five remaining U.S. medical schools with animal laboratories to replace them with modern, cost-effective, and humane alternatives.

To take action against the last five medical schools using animals, visit PCRM.org/MedLabs.

Source: PCRM