Abstract # 38:

Scheduled for Saturday, August 11, 2001 08:30 AM-10:30 AM: Session 13 (University Hall 157) Symposium


DISEASES AS CONFOUNDING VARIABLES IN RESEARCH: SYMPOSIUM

D. Florence
Wisconsin Regional Primate Research Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53715-1299
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     With animal resources becoming scarce in both wild and captive populations, and thus more valuable in real terms, research must be focused and utilize as little of this vital resource as is adequately necessary to answer the questions posed. To do this, effects of confounding variables must be minimized. Disease is one such confounding variable. Overt or clinical disease is usually readily recognizable and the effects relatively easily evaluated, however, sub-clinical or latent disease is not as easily recognized but can have just as significant negative effects on the study. It is important therefore to understand the effects such diseases can potentially have on a study and how to recognize if they do and, if so, how to appropriately deal with them. The classic triad of disease is the host-agent -environment relationship. This relationship can be balanced with no apparent signs of compromise on the host. Anything that influences this balance can result in either clinical or sub clinical disease. Examples of such influences could be: 1) a change in host defense due to stress and immune compromise (or unusual or novel host); 2) change in agent such as increased virulence or antigenic evolution; or 3) environment changes that may be positive or negative to either the host or the agent. When all potential intrinsic and extrinsic factors are considered it can become a very complex picture. When disease is obvious it's potential influence is recognized and steps can be taken to ameliorate the effects. However, when disease is not overt or is sub-clinical or latent, as some of the agents that we will discuss today, there exists the possibility of a serious confounding variable to studies that may be undertaken. It is a discussion of this possibility and it's potential effect on research endeavors that we will address in this symposium. We will cover several typical disease agents found in non-human primates as well as discuss methods for determining if potential subjects are experiencing such a disease phenomena before they are assigned to research projects. [PARTICIPANTS: N. Lerche, J. Roberts, J. Ramer, K. Armstrong, J. Blanchard, R. Lee, T. Ziegerler]