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Pitfalls in Animal Models

Martin R. Cohen, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1991;48(4):379. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1991.01810280095014.
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To the Editor.—  Having a newly developed outsider's interest in understanding human cognition, I was attracted to the recent review by Braff and Geyer.1 I noted the authors' comparison of the development of testable hypotheses of attentional deficits in schizophrenia and the development of appropriate animal models of the specific behavioral changes exhibited by patients with schizophrenia with recent advancements in molecular biology. I thought of the George Winokur aphorism, "if only it were true."If we lack the discipline to prevent comparisons of our work with the successes of molecular biology, at least our hypotheses and animal models should reflect clear, disciplined thinking. Braff and Geyer describe clinical studies demonstrating that patients with schizophrenia compared with controls demonstrate an "inhibitory failure" or a loss of sensorimotor gating functions. They note that "The effects of antipsychotic medication were viewed as possible confounds in the observed pattern of results...

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