Good for your health? 3

July 16, 2004

It is difficult to understand why individuals such as Marlene Thomson (Letters, July 2) distort the truth about the value of animal experiments to medical research: "Cardiovascular systems... of animals are different from ours, and years of research have not provided answers."

Nothing could be more wrong, and one example will suffice. When Harry Goldblatt clipped off the main artery to the kidney in rats, it caused hypertension. This discovery, made in animals, led, over many years to the understanding of the renin-angiotensin system and to the development of angiotension converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. These drugs are now at the forefront of the treatment for hypertension and heart failure, with proven efficacy.

I would bet that large numbers of Times Higher readers benefit from this therapy, and have good reasons to appreciate Goldblatt, his rats and that kidney. Thomson does her suspect cause no favours by making such sweeping statements that are so wide of the mark as to be risible.

Nick Wright
Queen Mary
University of London

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