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Animal Models and Animal Experimentation in the Development of Deep Brain Stimulation: From a Specific Controversy to a Multidimensional Debate

Abstract : In this article, we explore a specific controversy about animal experimentation and animal models in the recent history of deep brain stimulation (DBS), and we question its ramifications. DBS development intertwines clinical practice with fundamental research and stands at the crossroads of multiple legacies. We take up the various issues and controversies embedded in this rarely addressed dispute, from a standpoint that combines socio-anthropological and legal aspects. Our starting point is a debate on the role of animal experimentation in the development of DBS between Jarrod Bailey, a researcher promoting the abolition of animal experimentation, and Alim Louis Benabid, Marwan Hariz, and Mahlon DeLong, three key figures in the area of DBS and neuroscience. By clarifying the positions of the different protagonists and retracing the issues raised in these discussions, our objective is to show how this specific debate has extended from its initial space and how it provides an object of study with heuristic scope. We first present this partially polemic discussion about the history of DBS, and its link with a more general debate on the validity and use of animal models and the need for animal experiments. Then, we raise the issue of the relations and interactions between experiments on animals and on humans in the logics of biomedical innovation. The third step is to situate the discussion within the wider framework of opposition towards animal experimentation and the promotion of animal’ rights. Finally, combining these interweaved issues, possible implications emerge regarding the future of DBS. We show that behind these several controversies lie the question of translational research and the model of medicine upheld by DBS. We describe how the technology contributes to blurring the lines between research (fundamental, preclinical and clinical research) and care, as well as between humans and animals as substrates and objects of knowledge. The dynamics of DBS future development might then become a point of convergence for neuroscientists and animal rights defenders’ interests.
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Contributor : Baptiste Moutaud <>
Submitted on : Friday, June 7, 2019 - 11:24:57 AM
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Sonia Desmoulin-Canselier, Baptiste Moutaud. Animal Models and Animal Experimentation in the Development of Deep Brain Stimulation: From a Specific Controversy to a Multidimensional Debate. Frontiers in Neuroanatomy, Frontiers, 2019, 13 (51), ⟨10.3389/fnana.2019.00051⟩. ⟨halshs-02150366⟩

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