The Courage to Confront Unknown Unknowns

by Guest Blogger,
Tyler Kokjohn, Ph.D.

Liar mouse Mice will lie to you.  While there are some indisputable commonalities, scientists relying on them as disease models have observed that you can’t always be sure results obtained in mice will necessarily apply to humans (1, 2, 3).  Quite a number of cures for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and cancer have succeeded spectacularly in laboratory mice and been complete duds in the clinic.

One problem is that animal models only approximate human diseases.  The other is that biotic systems are dynamic, more than a little mysterious and unpredictable.  Nature has surprises and we often discover how complex living systems really work by observing them in action.  Assumptions and predictions do not always survive when theory confronts data.

Complexity is the hallmark of the ecosystem we call the human body.  It may seem strange to think of our bodies…

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