Signs of mood and anxiety disorders in chimpanzees

Background: In humans, traumatic experiences are sometimes followed by psychiatric disorders. In chimpanzees, studies have demonstrated an association between traumatic events and the emergence of behavioral disturbances resembling posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. We addressed the following central question: Do chimpanzees develop posttraumatic symptoms, in the form of abnormal behaviors, which cluster into syndromes […]

Assessing the psychological health of captive and wild apes: A response to Ferdowsian et al. (2011)

As many studies of cognition and behavior involve captive animals, assessing any psychological impact of captive conditions is an important goal for comparative researchers. Ferdowsian and colleagues (2011) sought to address whether captive chimpanzees show elevated signs of psychopathology relative to wild apes. They modified a checklist of diagnostic criteria for major depression and posttraumatic […]

Cumulative stress in research animals: Telomere attrition as a biomarker in a welfare context?

Progress in improving animal welfare is currently limited by the lack of objective methods for assessing lifetime experience. I propose that telomere attrition, a cellular biomarker of biological age, provides a molecular measure of cumulative experience that could be used to assess the welfare impact of husbandry regimes and/or experimental procedures on non-human animals. I […]