Sunday, July 15, 2007

Marilyn E. Carroll’s Junk Science

According to The Partnership for a Drug Free America,
PCP, or phencyclidine, is a dissociative anesthetic that was developed in the 1950s as a surgical anesthetic.

People who use PCP for long periods report memory loss, difficulties with speech and thinking, depression, and weight loss. These symptoms can persist up to a year after cessation of PCP use. Mood disorders also have been reported.
How common is PCP use? Here are figures reported by Quest Diagnostics, a commercial workplace drug-testing lab.
Rates by Drug Category
(For Federally-Mandated, Safety-Sensitive Workforce, as a Percentage of All Such Tests) (More than 2.0 million tests from January to December 2006)

Drug Category 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

Amphetamines 0.28% 0.35% 0.31% 0.29% 0.28%
Cocaine 0.58% 0.60% 0.57% 0.59% 0.56%
Marijuana 0.94% 1.10% 1.25% 1.34% 1.44%
Opiates 0.17% 0.18% 0.17% 0.19% 0.19%
PCP 0.03% 0.04% 0.04% 0.04% 0.04%
I mention all of this because it is germane to the animal research community’s claims that there is strong competition for federal grants, and that only important studies addressing important problems, and asking important questions get approved and funded. For instance, the National Association for Biomedical Research says
The National Institutes of Health—the single major source of federal funding for biomedical research in this country—currently can support only about one-quarter of all worthy research proposals due to limited available funding. Certainly, scarce funds are not awarded for studies which will not add significantly to biomedical research.
Looking at the numbers above, apparently, about 1% of people who are in positions with federally mandated drug testing, test positive for marijuana use; about 1/2 of 1% test positive for cocaine; about 2/10 of 1% test positive for “opiates” (essentially, the only opiate used is heroin); and 3/100 of 1% test positive for PCP.

Marilyn E. Carroll, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota.

Carroll’s funding, FY 2006 - 2002:

2R01DA003240-23 "Vulnerability to Drug Abuse and Treatment Efficacy: Animal Models" $323,377, $290,344, $290,538, $290,775, $290,909.
“Abstract: DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The overall objective of this research application is to focus on major vulnerability factors in drug abuse, including avidity for nondrug rewards, impulsive behavior, sex, and ovarian hormones, and determine how groups with differing vulnerability levels respond to treatment efforts.”

3R01DA002486-26 "A PRIMATE MODEL OF DRUG ABUSE: INTERVENTION STRATEGIES" $74,749, $293,217, $293,236, $293,256, ($56,000 + $293,274)
“Abstract: DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The main objective of this research is to develop nonhuman primate models (rhesus monkeys) of critical aspects of addiction that will yield useful information for the prevention and treatment of drug abuse."

5K05DA015267-05 "Models for the Prevention and Treatment of Drug Abuse" $117,330, $117,330, $117,330, $117,330, $117,330.
“Abstract: DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The objective of this K05 application is to obtain salary support for release time from teaching and administrative duties not directly related to research. This would increase time allocated to research from 40% before the K05 to 75-90.”

Some recent publications:

Social stimuli enhance phencyclidine (PCP) self-administration in rhesus monkeys. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2007.

Impulsivity (delay discounting) for food and cocaine in male and female rats selectively bred for high and low saccharin intake. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2007.

Acquisition of i.v. cocaine self-administration in adolescent and adult male rats selectively bred for high and low saccharin intake. Physiol Behav. 2007.

Regulation of intravenous cocaine self-administration in rats selectively bred for high (HiS) and low (LoS) saccharin intake. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2007.

Estrogen receptor beta, but not alpha, mediates estrogen's effect on cocaine-induced reinstatement of extinguished cocaine-seeking behavior in ovariectomized female rats. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2007.

Reinforcing effects of smoked methamphetamine in rhesus monkeys. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2006.

Effects of menstrual cycle phase on the reinforcing effects of phencyclidine (PCP) in rhesus monkeys. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2006.

Escalation of i.v. cocaine self-administration and reinstatement of cocaine-seeking behavior in rats bred for high and low saccharin intake. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2006 Jun;186(2):235-45.

Sex differences in physical dependence on orally self-administered phencyclidine (PCP) in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta). Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2006.

Wheel running as a predictor of cocaine self-administration and reinstatement in female rats. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2005.

Effect of short- vs. long-term estrogen on reinstatement of cocaine-seeking behavior in female rats. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2005.

Sex differences in the escalation of oral phencyclidine (PCP) self-administration under FR and PR schedules in rhesus monkeys. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2005.

Escalation of intravenous cocaine self-administration, progressive-ratio performance, and reinstatement in rats selectively bred for high (HiS) and low (LoS) saccharin intake. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2005.

You’ll notice that her grants, 2R01DA003240-23 and 3R01DA002486-26 each end with a -xx. The digits following the dash indicate the years of funding. In other words, as of FY 2006, 2R01DA003240-23 "Vulnerability to Drug Abuse and Treatment Efficacy: Animal Models" has been funded for 23 years, and 3R01DA002486-26 "A PRIMATE MODEL OF DRUG ABUSE: INTERVENTION STRATEGIES" has been funded for 26 years.

Right now, we the people, are paying her almost three quarters of a million dollars a year to write about the effects of PCP on monkeys and cocaine-seeking behavior in rats. It makes no different to the NIH or to her university that rats don’t seek cocaine or that monkeys don’t use PCP. Or, that her research has contributed nothing to helping the small number of people with a cocaine addiction or the infinitesimally minute number of people using PCP regularly.

Or, obviously, that she’s been torturing rats and monkeys for over a quarter of a century.

Oral phencyclidine (PCP) self-administration in rhesus monkeys: effects of feeding conditions. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1980.

Carroll’s is a good example of the garbage science funded by the NIH. And imagine the crap that isn’t funded if this is an example of some of the best.


Anonymous said...

What a waste of money.
Not only that, it's animal cruelty disguised as science.
I give you a lot of credit for speaking out on this.

Anonymous said...

In supporting animal rights in a laboratory setting, you're also supporting the suffering and death of anyone with un-curable/treatable disorders. Here's a dirty little secret: any medication (chemotherapy, antidepressants, anxiolytics, antipsychotics, blood pressure stabilizers, etc.) that saves millions of lives originated with animal models that tested its efficacy/toxicity. Here's another dirty little secret: these animals that died due to these studies also saved millions of lives. If you're so supportive of animal rights I suggest you find your nearest hospital and explain to the families of patients with untreatable diseases that their loved ones are out of luck because you hold precedent of a rat/monkey over a human being.

Rick said...

Perhaps you have a leaning disability. Reread my essay three or four more time, then try to summarize the main point, and then explain why you do or do not still believe that the many millions of dollars poured into Carroll's lab should be counted as public money well-spent.