Question: Can you get animals to perform repetitive fine motor movements? If so they should use mice in these tests (that appeals to my instinct for revenge!!!).
Answer 1: Do you remember, last year there was a bit of discussion on this list, about research done in the US with little monkeys: they had to squeeze a trigger several times, v. quickly, in order to get to a morsel of food. It was reported, if my memory serves…in New Scientist. The conclusion was that the part of the brain that handles spatial awareness (e.g. where your hand is when it’s open/shut) usually holds each position in neat, separated areas.
Through repetitive use, these areas become ‘smeared’ into each other, so the signals telling the brain where hands and fingers are, aren’t being received correctly. Oh dear, isn’t it awful when you can’t remember things adequately. Anyway, just thought it was interesting. I may still have the photocopied article at home somewhere.
Answer 2: This is right – the monkeys got severe dysfunction without pain . . . a kind of ‘RSI’ they said that accounts for about 5% (I think) of human RSI . . . not a lot of help to those of us with pain . . . and they didn’t report on how they unscrambled (I guess they didn’t) the poor little monkeys’ brains.