Stimulus funds pay for monkey research in N.C.

Stimulus funds pay for monkey research in N.C.

Benjamin Niolet | The (Raleigh) News & Observer

last updated: March 08, 2010 08:01:17 AM

Monkeys are getting high for science in North Carolina.

An analyst at the Civitas Institute seized on that image when selecting a cocaine addiction study at Wake Forest University Medical School as No. 1 on a list of the “10 worst federal stimulus projects in North Carolina.” Civitas’ Brian Balfour takes swipes at projects, writing that they “seem completely unrelated to avoiding an economic ‘catastrophe,’ but rather an ad hoc satisfaction of countless dubious wish lists.”

So, what is the $71,623 federal stimulus grant paying for?

Well, a job, said Mark Wright, a spokesman for the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

“It’s actually the continuation of a job that might not still be there if it hadn’t been for the stimulus funding. And it’s a good job,” Wright said. “It’s also very worthwhile research.”

The study is examining the effects of cocaine on a particular neurotransmitter among monkeys who have had a long-term addiction to cocaine.

The medical school boasts a significant body of work studying addiction. Ultimately, the study could lead to better treatment for recovering cocaine addicts.

Balfour also cited another Wake Forest study. This one is studying whether yoga and other non-pharmaceutical therapies such as wellness classes can help alleviate hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause.

“How does this study help revive the economy?” Balfour asked.

Well, again, jobs, said Nancy Avis, a professor in the Department of Social Sciences and Health policy at the medical school. The funding, more than $147,000 over two years, will contribute to the salaries of six people.

To read the complete article, visit www.newsobserver.com.

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