After more than 50 years of studying the ways a fatty diet contributes to heart disease in San Antonio baboons, it might seem there wouldn't be much left to learn. Then Anthony Comuzzie started feeding them soda pop.
Comuzzie, a nationally prominent obesity researcher and geneticist at Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research, recently induced metabolic syndrome — risk factors associated with the human epidemic of diabetes and heart disease — by making the baboons' high-fat diet tastier and adding a sweet drink flavored with high-fructose corn syrup. The baboons tended to guzzle several liters of the stuff with their meals.
“Without giving away the name so we don't get sued, we modeled the diet after a fast-food value meal,” Comuzzie said Thursday at a 10th birthday celebration for the Southwest National Primate Research Center, which maintains the foundation's massive colony of baboons, monkeys and chimps.
And let's not forget the required sanctimonious quote from an animal researcher
“Our primates are essential partners in medical progress, as are mice, rats, guinea pigs and opossums. Without them we would be stripped of the very tools we need to open new paths of discovery and to challenge old dogma.”