“… and then we spinally transected 6 cats…”

7 05 2015

p2000d3bdg51001I went along to part of Neuroscience Day last week. An annual highlight of academic life here, it was fun to check out some posters and catch up with Mark Fenske, Elena Choleris, Leah Bent and others.

I stayed for the keynote, Trevor Drew‘s “Planning the next step: supraspinal control of locomotion” as Leah was hosting it, and I also thought learning more about the motor control of stepping might be useful for understanding stereotypic pacing.

So, it was a bit of a shock to discover that the work involved spinal cats. Many many videos of such cats in fact. The cats in the videos (all on treadmills) actually looked OK: tails perkily erect, and leaning their faces in to be stroked by the human hands that occasionally appeared into view. But I guess vids where they looked scared, or were dragged hopelessly along because their legs don’t work, would not make for acceptable conference viewing. I would have been much happier if he had used children (joke, people, joke; but barely).