The National Institutes of Health is earmarking $10 million to ensure there is “gender equity” issue when using mice for medical research. Seriously.
There is a “gender bias” in medical testing, apparently.
According to NPR, the NIH, as a condition of keeping the medical research funding pipeline running, is going to spend $10 million to introduce “gender equity” in testing on mice:
There’s been a male tilt to biomedical research for a long time.
The National Institutes of Health is trying to change that and is looking to bring gender balance all the way down to the earliest stages of research. As a condition of NIH funding, researchers will now have to include female and male animals in their biomedical studies.
The claim is that by conducting testing only on male rodents, the results potentially didn’t hold for female humans.
As the NPR report notes, however, the entire concept of animal testing to determine impact on humans— male or female— is pretty flawed. Even a Harvard researcher who NPR cites as being “pumped” about eliminating “gender bias” in animal testing notes that trying to ascertain the effect of whatever is being tested on the mouse on a human being is very, very limited:
she and other researchers maintain that if the goal is to address women’s health inequities, the policy on animal research isn’t likely to be effective by itself. Mice aren’t people. Richardson also says the focus on animals could distract scientists from the big picture: what happens in real living humans.
Neurologist Rhonda Voskuhl, at UCLA, agrees that mice aren’t going to reveal all the intricacies of why human men and women can have different health outcomes. ‘There’s no perfect model for the human except for the human,” says Voskuhl.’”
Part of that quote bears repeating: Mice aren’t people.
That’s a sentiment echoed by Anthony Bellotti, executive director of the White Coat Waste Project, which aims to eliminate federal funding of animal research and shift the burden of it to private donors and companies interested in the research.
“The truth is, as many medical experts and doctors will tell you, spending tax dollars on animal experimentation— whether this new, ‘politically correct’ experimentation or the old, male-focused variety— is extremely wasteful. Mice aren’t humans, and the grant recipients conducting these usually pointless experiments know it. No amount of ‘gender equality’ is going to change the fact that taxpayer-funding of government animal experiments is really about special interests getting access to your wallet to do the same, rote, non-innovative experiments over and over again.”
The good news here is that only $10 million is being allocated to this, though Bellotti’s organization contends that more and more money has been being allocated to taxpayer-funded animal testing in recent years, including in the recent cromnibus.