Vivisector of the Month!

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3 min read
Gordon Ewy
uanews / CC

First and foremost, I’d like to congratulate Jason Cromer, who won last month’s contest by a single vote. I’m so happy to see that the competition was heated last month, and I hope that you’ll agree that this month’s contestants are equally well matched.

If you love word association, then you’re certain to love the conveniently named Michael Weed. His interests include alcohol, morphine, cocaine, ecstacy, and the simian equivalent of HIV (Simian Immunodeficiency Virus, or SIV). And he generously bestows all these wonderful gifts on his monkey friends, who can’t fight back.

In one particularly gruesome study funded by the National Institutes of Health, Weed trained monkeys in a basic motor task, infected them with SIV, then checked how they performed the task—while on cocaine. He has also studied SIV in monkeys without going the extra mile of giving them cocaine. One time, for example, he assessed 10 monkeys’ performances on memory tests before and after they were infected with SIV. He concluded that his findings matched what was already known from human AIDS patients. Brilliant work, Weed! Even if he’d made stunning new conclusions, would it mean that we should start giving cocaine to people with HIV or that we should warn people with HIV that the white stuff ain’t the right stuff?

In another hideous and meaningless study, Weed decided to create opiate dependence in monkeys by giving them a tasty orange-flavored drink spiked with morphine every six hours for several months. Monkey-lovers and M.A.D.D. members alike, please vote for Michael Weed!

If you ever find a pig in cardiac arrest and need to perform CPR, Gordon Ewy would be the man to call. Occupying an endowed chair and serving as director of the University of Arizona’s Sarver Heart Center, Ewy has dedicated much of his life to saving pigs’ lives (for a brief while, anyway)—after he induces cardiac arrest in them via asphyxiation or other methods.

Ewy’s heart-stopping modus operandi typically involves letting his victims sit at a cardiac standstill for eight minutes or more before trying to resuscitate them via different combinations of “chest compressions and assisted ventilation” (i.e., experimental CPR). The success of his methods is measured by the number of pigs who survive, and the number of surviving pigs who retain full brain function after their near-death experiences. In one particularly revealing experiment, Ewy assessed whether chest compressions using stacked hands or side-by-side hands would significantly affect survival. Lo and behold, they did not.

Who will you vote for? Weed, for his extensive work at creating a nonhuman primate crack house, or Ewy, for his life-threatening, “lifesaving” work on pigs? Leave a comment to let me know!

Posted by Sean Conner

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