an interesting story about the Canine Behavioral Genetics Project that is attempting to locate genetic sources of mental illness in dogs. I want to send my crazy sister to get studied! Granted, I'm the one who had the bout with separation anxiety who got put on Pupzac and wigged out when I couldn't see my mawma--even if she was in the shower and I was on the other side of the curtain! A little codependence never hurt anyone (except me when I jumped out of the window to find my missing ma!) But still, Ethel's the crazy one. My
madness is connected to my genius
. The study sure sounds interesting, though.
Hamilton believes that dogs are natural models for the study of human mental illness, as there are clear parallels between the species. Veterinarians say they see dogs with anxiety and panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, separation anxiety, and phobias, all disorders that humans also suffer from. In dogs, these behavior disorders can be observed and measured easily. "When humans are anxious, there's a stereotypical constellation of symptoms — they're tremulous, they pace, they're withdrawn, they have an elevated heart rate," Hamilton says. "Dogs have similar symptoms that you can observe — they pant, salivate, defecate."
Still, why not cut to the chase and look for the genetic component of these disorders in humans? The answer has everything to do with the legendary zeal of dog fanciers, who have, over many generations, created well-defined breeds with very distinct genetic profiles. "Dogs are the grand genetics experiment that humans have carried out for the past 10,000 years," Hamilton says.
In addition to learning to treat canines they think it will have ramifications for the naked apes because of your similar biology (meaning your brains are like ours but inferior!) Maybe they will come up with a treatment for naked apes who have canine alter egos? Not that I know anyone who does that.