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Entries in Chimpanzee (6)

Tuesday
Feb282012

Charla Nash Talks Chimp Attack, Recovery

WABC News(NEW YORK) -- Charla Nash is battling the seemingly impossible — a life with no hands, visually blind and recovery from a face transplant after being mauled by a chimpanzee nearly three years ago.

But Nash, 58, says though she doesn’t look it, she’s the same person inside as she was before the near-fatal attack.

“I wouldn’t mind seeing what I look like,” Nash told WABC reporter Sarah Wallace in an exclusive interview.

The Connecticut woman underwent a face transplant at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital last May and is still recovering from the procedure at a rehabilitation center outside of Boston.

The 20-hour surgical marathon was performed by a team of more than 30 doctors and nurses. An attempt to give her a pair of new hands failed, and the transplanted hands were removed.

Nash said she doesn’t remember the day of the attack, but she always avoided her friend Sandra Herold’s pet chimp named Travis. Nash was helping Herold lure her pet chimp Travis inside when the 200-pound animal ripped off her nose, lips, eyelids and hands before being shot and killed by police.

Nash said she is suing the state of Connecticut, claiming that the authorities knew the chimp was a risk, but did nothing to stop him.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Dec162011

NIH Limits Chimp Research

Tom Brakefield/Stockbyte(WASHINGTON) -- The National Institutes of Health will curb its use of chimpanzees in medical and behavioral research, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins announced Thursday.

Collins said in a news conference that the agency would temporarily bar all new research projects using chimpanzees, and that all current projects involving the primates would be evaluated.

 The announcement came after an Institute of Medicine  report issued on Thursday that called for strict limits on the use of chimpanzees  – the closest genetic relatives to humans — in medical and behavioral research.

In its report, the IOM said experiments on chimpanzees had not advanced research enough to justify their continued use in invasive experiments.

“The committee concluded that research using animals that are so closely related to humans should not proceed unless it offers insights not possible with other animal models and unless it is of sufficient scientific or health value to offset the moral costs,” Jeffrey Kahn, chairman of the IOM committee,  said in a news release. ”We found very few cases that satisfy these criteria.”

Of the nearly 1,000 chimpanzees currently housed in U.S. research facilities, the NIH owns 612 of them. Collins said many of those animals are not involved in research currently.  

The NIH will begin reviewing the 37 federally funded projects that involve chimpanzees. Collins estimated that 50 percent of the projects will not meet the IOM’s criteria and will be phased out or ended immediately.

Chimpanzees are viewed as more accurate models for how diseases and treatments develop in people than other animals, such as mice.

But because chimps share some behavioral characteristics with humans, many scientists and animal rights activists have concluded that experimenting on them is unethical.

Scientists have used chimps to develop vaccines and treatments for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, and the IOM report said private research companies have used the animals to test drug safety and efficacy.

The U.S. is one of only two countries that conduct invasive research on chimpanzees; the other is Gabon in central Africa.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct132011

Teamwork Helps Kids Succeed Where Chimps Fail, Scientists Say

Pixland/Thinkstock(LEIPZIG, Germany) -- Humans are collaborators by nature, and when compared to chimpanzees, humans’ closest living relative, children are more likely to collaborate toward a common goal than chimps, says a new study published in the journal Current Biology.

“Differences between humans and other species might be rooted in apparently small motivational differences for how to behave towards others,” said Yvonne Rekers, co-author of the study.

“A preference to do stuff together instead of alone differentiates humans from one of our closely related primate cousins,” continued Rekers of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. “Once we know the underlying motivations of this tendency, we have learned something new about human nature that differentiates it from chimpanzee nature.”

Researchers hypothesized that a key difference in the evolution of human cooperation is the preference of working together versus acting alone to perform a certain task to obtain food. Following the results, researchers found that their hypothesis was correct: while children strongly preferred to collaborate, chimps did not show as much of a preference.

In the study, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany compared 24 3-year-old children and 12 semi-wild chimpanzees living in a Congo Republic wildlife sanctuary. Researchers presented a task in which it could be done alone, or with a partner, in order to get a food reward.

Researchers found that the children cooperated more than 78 percent of the time, compared with the chimps, which collaborated about 58 percent of the time.

“If this result proves to be reliable across ages and situations, the question is no longer how to get people to cooperate, but what keeps them from cooperating,” said Rekers.

Study authors hope to compare other primate species’ cooperation techniques, particularly bonobos, which, according to the study, most closely match human prosocial motivations.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug112011

New Face of Chimpanzee Attack Victim Revealed

Charla Nash is seen after her May, 2011, face transplant at the hospital. (Brigham and Women's Hospital/Lightchaser Photography)(NEW YORK) -- The new face of Charla Nash, the Connecticut woman who was mauled by a chimpanzee two years ago, was revealed for the first time Thursday.

The photos of Nash were first shown on NBC's Today show Thursday morning and were later released by Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, where the surgery was performed in late May.

Nash is still recovering from the grueling 20-hour surgical marathon by a team of more than 30 doctors and nurses. An attempt to give her a pair of new hands failed, and the transplanted hands were removed.

Nash, 57, was helping her friend, Sandra Herold, lure her pet chimp Travis inside when the 200-pound animal ripped off her nose, lips, eyelids and hands before being shot and killed by police.

Since the 2009 attack that also left her blind, Nash wore a straw hat with a veil to cover her injuries, but revealed her mangled face on a November 2009 episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show.

Before the transplant, the woman’s family says Nash had to eat pureed food through a straw. Now, she will be able to eat and is looking forward to a trip to the family's hot dog stand in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.

Nash desperately wanted a simultaneous face and hand transplant -- a procedure that has been done only once before in France, and that patient later died. The procedure is complicated because of the precision and coordination necessary, and the increased risk of complications. Nash developed pneumonia and kidney failure after the transplant, which hampered circulation to the hands.

The hands and face both came from the same donor, but the hand transplant failed and they had to be removed, the doctors said. But Pomahac said the team "could transplant the hands again should a suitable donor be identified."

Nash is the third person to undergo a face transplant at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dallas Wiens received the nation's first face transplant patient there in March.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun102011

Charla Nash Gets Face Transplant After Chimp Attack

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A team of more than 30 doctors and nurses have carried out a face transplant for Charla Nash, the Connecticut woman who was mauled by her friend's pet chimpanzee in 2009. An attempt to give her a pair of new hands failed, and the transplanted hands were removed.

Nash, 57, was helping Sandra Herold lure her pet chimp Travis inside when the 200 pound animal ripped off her nose, lips, eyelids, and hands before being shot and killed by police.

Since the attack, Nash wore a straw hat with a veil to cover her injuries, but revealed her mangled face on a November 2009 episode of Oprah.

The date of the transplant will not be released to protect the donor's identity, but officials at Brigham and Women's Hospital said it occurred in late May. The 20-hour surgery was fraught with complications, according to John Orr, a spokesman for the Nash family.

Nash is the third person to undergo a face transplant at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dallas Wiens received the nation's first face transplant patient there in March.

The only other known simultaneous face and hands transplant was performed in France in 2009, and that patient later died.

Herold's 911 call offered a haunting description of the violent attack. Herold can be heard screaming that the ape had killed her friend and was "eating her."

"The chimp killed my friend," Herold screamed. "Send the police with a gun. With a gun!"

The dispatcher later asks, "Who's killing your friend?"

"My chimpanzee," she cries. "He ripped her apart! Shoot him, shoot him!"

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb082011

Without Language, Playing Field Leveled Between Humans, Primates

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- With our extensive systems of governance and such global cooperative networks as the United Nations and the World Health Organization, humans are expert cooperators when compared with other animals or even relative primates, such as chimpanzees and capuchin monkeys.

But how much of this cooperation depends on our ability to speak?  Apparently more than you'd believe.  That is the take-away message of a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

At the core of the study was a cooperative-rewards game in which participants -- be they man, monkey or chimp -- had to work in pairs.  The game required participants to cooperate to get the biggest payout -- quarters and dollars for the humans, tasty fruit for the primates.  While there was a less-than-ideal cooperation scenario that gave each partner in a pair a quarter, "winning the game" meant figuring out which scenario offered a dollar reward at each round.

When humans were not told the rules of the game and had to figure things out nonverbally, the way their chimp and capuchin monkey primate counterparts had to, human cooperation did not far outperform that of the other primates.

"Normally, we expect to see 100 percent cooperation with humans when they know the rules of the game.  When we had them go in blind, only five pairs out of 26 developed the best scenarios of cooperation.  That's only 20 percent," said lead author Sarah Brosnan, a psychologist at the Language Research Center at Georgia State University.

Humans still outperformed the other primates, who were chosen because they were notoriously cooperative species, but the extent to which the lack of language handicapped the human pairs was surprising, Brosnan noted.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio