Transgenic Animals In The Study Of Neurodegenerative Diseases

2124 words - 9 pages

Neurodegeneration is becoming more and more of an issue that researchers and scientists are trying to overcome. However, genetically modified animals are the new technology that may be the solution to understanding such diseases. In the recent two decades, genetically modified animals, also known as transgenic animals, have been used to save many lives diagnosed with neurodegenerative diseases. Although genetically modified organisms are often argued against because of the disadvantages to using them and the ethics of animal experimentation, these mice carrying neurodegenerative diseases have made notable contributions to the research and study of neurodegenerative disorders and are worth being researched on. Transgenic mice models are effective because they model specific aspects of the disease, allow researchers to closely study behaviors, and are the reason researchers know so much about neurodegenerative diseases. Because of such impressive contributions, transgenic animals should be recognized more to be used in the research of neurodegenerative diseases.
Neurodegenerative diseases are disorders of the nervous system with treatments that still need to be found. These diseases include the familiar Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, commonly known as ALS. Even though there are many different types of neurodegenerative diseases, they are all caused by some type of dysfunction of neurons. Dysfunction of the neurons is when neurons in the brain and spinal cord begin to fail in their performance, resulting in abnormal cell functions (Mandal). As these cells begin to experience death, patients experience symptoms. Because these diseases are disorders of the brain and spinal cord, a patient’s actions will become impaired. They will find ordinary tasks such as balancing, moving, talking, and remembering quite difficult (Medline Plus). With these symptoms, these disorders cannot be overlooked for they can cause serious damage. Not only can neurodegeneration be detrimental to the patient’s health, but also to their safety. Because neurodegeneration is so harmful to patients, it is important to find treatments for patients.
Researchers use transgenic mice to understand more about and to find treatments for neurodegenerative diseases. Unlike many other diseases, neurodegenerative diseases do not have effective treatments. Even though neurodegenerative diseases are as dangerous and as common as they are, it is difficult for physicians to determine the causes of the diseases. In many cases, the causes of neurodegeneration are unknown and cannot be easily detected. Neurodegenerative diseases are very complex and require more research and study than illnesses such as the common cold. There is more to neurodegeneration than just the neurons of the brain and spinal chord. As mentioned by Smith et al. and Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry, there are numerous contributing factors, such as...

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