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Research at UK involving cocaine, quails, and sex drive stirs controversy

By: Brittany Pelletz Email
By: Brittany Pelletz Email

What do cocaine, Japanese quail, and quail sex drive all have in common? They are the ingredients to research at the University of Kentucky to to look at how cocaine impacts the sex drive in humans.

"Why Japanese quail? Cocaine abuse in humans has been shown clinically, that it leads to risky sexual behavior, they have more sexual partners, and that leads to more sexually transmitted diseases," says Dr. Tracy, the Vice President for Research at the University of Kentucky.

For the past two years, this research has been taking place on UK's campus and it's cost more than 356,000 so far.
It's that rising price tag that put UK on the list for programs that are being described as wastes of billions in tax payer dollars.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-500202_162-57346931/report-cites-billions-of-bucks-feds-wasting/?tag=mncol;lst;2

"Is there question that there is government waste. Of course there is. But is it appropriate to pick an individual project at an individual university and what's it's studying, I think it's highly misguided," adds Dr. Tracy.

The project is only 1 of 3,000 on UK's campus. Dr. Tracy says it's not what is being studied but the titling that often creates this controversy, "It's important to look what is behind the title. You are limited to only 64 Characters for an NIH .You can only say so much."

The National Institutes of Health issued UK the money, after a group of scientists found the the research highly valuable.

The research will continue for at least another year under the current NIH-funded grant.

Dr. Tracy says that this specific research grant cost a lot less than the majority of research projects at the University of Kentucky.

Dr. Tracy also has concerns that if politicians gain more power over scientific studies, future research could be in jeopardy.


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