This true animal-experiment story led to an amazing realization that urges us to rethink the value of animal testing. Investigators at Ohio State University were researching the effects of diet-induced atherosclerosis in rabbits. All was going well–which, in this case, means the rabbits were getting diseased–in all studies except one. Find out what these researchers discovered here:
The researchers were able to induce atherosclerosis by feeding rabbits high-cholesterol diets, but one group inexplicably had 60 percent less atherosclerosis. The experimenters were baffled and tried to find the responsible factor. Nothing they tried proved to be it–not diet, not room temperature, not anything they could change and measure.
Finally they discovered that the particular researcher in charge of that group really liked rabbits. He would talk to them, pet them, give them lots of love. So the experimenters staged other experiments in which control rabbits were ignored while other groups were cuddled and talked to while all other variables were kept the same. Sure enough, in every case the rabbits that had been loved had at least 60 percent less incidence of atherosclerosis than those that were not shown affection. Atherosclerosis, by the way, is statistically the disease that kills the most Americans.
The lesson here is that love is powerful medicine. Love and compassion are necessary to us all and can even affect research. Caring and loving feelings can reach out and affect diseases and create healing–even when you are experimentally trying to induce illness.