• IDA Research Guide Overview
  • Locating your targets.
  • Obtaining medical school catalogs.
  • Using the World Wide Web to find information.
  • Obtaining CRISP Abstracts.
  • Using the Gopher system.
  • The Department of Defense web site.
  • Freedom of Information Act requests.
  • Obtaining USDA Annual reports.
  • Obtaining USDA Inspection reports.
  • Investigating your targets with Medline.
  • Medline on the World Wide Web.
  • Contacting the National Institute of Health.
  • Other important documents.
  • Reviewing journal articals, grants and other documents.
  • Obtaining professional opinions.
  • Writing a brochure or fact sheet.
  • Regulatory and animal care guides.
  • Attending IACUC meetings.
  • Conclusion.

    Research guide resources:

  • Organizations.
  • Common NIH Grant Designations.
  • Sample CRISP Abstract and Indexing Terms.
  • Sample DOD Abstract
  • Sample FOIA letter.
  • Sample Necropsy Report.

  • Reviewing journal articals, grants and other documents

    Read all of your documents carefully, and underline/highlight what you thinkare the most important passages. Pay careful attention to the Introduction,Methods and Discussion sections of journal articles. The Methods sectionwill often include detailed descriptions of what the experimenters actuallyinflict on the animals. Often, researchers will make statements that arecontradictory and/or damaging to their own project, and you don't need amedical or scientific background to notice them.

    For example, here are some very damning statements written by Dr. MarthaNeuringer, who has conducted lethal infant nutrition experiments on rhesusmonkeys since 1978 at Oregon Health Sciences University:

    "Taurine supplementation of most commercial human infant formulas wasinstituted in 1984 or 1985." This statement can be understood as damningonly after reading Neuringer's other published experiments regarding deprivationof the essential amino acid taurine. Neuringer killed at least 60 rhesusinfants in this research after the addition of taurine to human formulasin 1984. Why? Neuringer wrote that it was to "further strengthen thecase" for adding the taurine--but as she herself states, that casehad already been made.

    "The [monkey] infants are removed from their mothers on the morningof birth and housed individually...to control dietary intake." Singlehousing of rhesus monkeys, particularly infants, is not only cruel, butalso produces prolonged stress that would affect any research results.

    "[The monkeys'] behavior patterns [repetitive pacing, circling androcking] resemble those seen in socially isolated monkeys or those subjectedto stressful disruptions of their environment." Here Neuringer confirmsthat her monkeys are psychologically damaged, calling into question anyresearch results. It also highlights the inherent differences between theliving conditions inflicted on the monkeys in her laboratory and the real-worldlives of human infants.

    "Rhesus monkeys are born at a more advanced stage than humans and developmore quickly after birth with respect to all indices of brain development."This is a fundamental difference between humans and rhesus monkeys, especiallydamning because the focus of Neuringer's research is the effect of nutritionaldeprivation on the brain.

    "[B]ecause of the diets, the feces of both diet groups were unformedand it was not possible to separate feces and urine consistently."This shows the rhesus monkeys were suffering from prolonged diarrhea, whichnot only indicates stress and poor health, but would also affect her results.

    "[No human infant formulas] are as deficient [in omega-3 fatty acids]as our experimental diets"; "[Our adult monkeys] have a long-termand relatively severe deficiency which is not a direct model of human infantfeeding." These also demonstrate how much Neuringer's laboratory conditionsdiffer from the real-world diets of human infants.

    As you gain experience, you will be able to spot damaging statements andcontradictions more easily. Comments from professionals, such as physicians,veterinarians and psychologists, will also help you pick out and understandscientific flaws in this and future investigations.