Last updated on: 12/11/2013 | Author: ProCon.org

Aysha Akhtar, MD, MPH Biography

Title:
Neurologist and author of Animals and Public Health: Why Treating Animals Better Is Critical to Human Welfare
Position:
Con to the question "Should Animals Be Used for Scientific or Commercial Testing?"
Reasoning:

“Regardless of any role animal experiments may have played in the past, the mounting evidence shows that using animals today is largely ineffective in helping us understand human physiology, predict human toxins and find useful drugs. Despite some similarities between humans and non-human animals, medicine now deals with the subtle nuances of physiological mechanisms and genetics that are unique to humans. While animals may be ‘whole models,’ they are the wrong whole models because of inter-species differences.

Failures of animal experiments have led to human harm. Moreover, misleading animal experiments may have caused the abandonment of effective drugs and cures. One can’t help wonder: how many people would have been saved if we used more effective human-based testing methods?

Animal experimentation is a relic of the past. Instead of wasting time, human and animal lives, and our tax dollars on misleading animal experiments, we must devote our resources into finding and using sophisticated human-based tests that mimic the whole human body. Our lives depend on this.”

Email to ProCon.org, Oct. 21, 2013

[Editor’s Note: Dr. Akhtar has asked and we have agreed to add her clarifying statement: “The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the US Government or the FDA.”]

Theoretical Expertise Ranking:
Experts
Individuals with PhDs, MDs, or equivalent advanced degrees in fields relevant to animal testing issues. Also top-level government officials (such as foreign leaders, US presidents, Founding Fathers, Supreme Court Justices, members of legislative bodies, cabinet members, military leaders, etc.) with positions relevant to animal testing issues.
Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Board certified neurologist and preventive medicine physician
  • Medical Officer, Office of Counterterrorism and Emerging Threats, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • LCDR (Lieutenant Commander), US Public Health Service
  • Co-Chair, FDA-Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Medical Countermeasure Surveillance Action Team
  • Co-Chair, Pediatric and Maternal Public Health and Security Action Team (PHSAT)
  • Member, Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise (PHEMCE) Pediatric and Obstetrics Integrated Program Team (IPT)
  • Member, Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise (PHEMCE) Chemical Integrated Program Team (IPT)
  • Fellow, Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics
  • Contributor, Huffington Post
  • Former Research Advisor, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
  • General medicine internship completed at Washington Hospital Center
  • Neurology and preventive medicine residencies completed at University of North Carolina Medical School
  • Appeared on TV program 30 Days (FX)
Education:
  • MD, Eastern Virginia Medical School
  • MPH, Bioethics, University of North Carolina School of Public Health
Other:
  • None found
Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Should Animals Be Used for Scientific or Commercial Testing?