Dora E. Angelaki:
the “Little Angel of St. Louis”1
2 East McDonnell SRF
Campus Box: 8108
Washington University School of Medicine
St. Louis, Missouri
than an hour after an animal was euthanized and perfused, the head
was put into the superstructure in exactly the same position
and was mounted exactly the same way as during experiments.
STORY IS TRUE. IT IS NOT UNUSUAL.
IT IS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE CURRENT STATE OF RESEARCH IN THE UNITED
STATES USING ANIMALS. WHAT THE STORY OF DORA E. ANGELAKI MAKES CLEAR,
IS THAT ANY PRETENSE OF MEANINGFUL OVERSIGHT OR CLOSE SCRUTINY OF
ANIMAL-BASED RESEARCH IN THE U.S. IS SIMPLE POLITICALLY CORRECT
RHETORIC; RHETORIC INTENDED TO MOLLIFY AND SOOTHE THE SENSIBILITIES
OF A PUBLIC PAYING SCANT ATTENTION TO WHAT IS ACTUALLY TAKING PLACE
IN THE LABORATORIES BEING FUNDED WITH U.S. TAX MONIES.
THE STORY OF DORA E. ANGELAKI MAKES THIS CRYSTAL CLEAR.
The Little Angel of St. Louis has
been publishing details of her daily activities since 1991. The
Little Angel of St. Louis has written and published at least fifty-five
articles that fit together as pieces of a puzzle to suggest a picture
of a career, a life, an ethos and a woman. The Little Angel of St.
Louis is a portrait of the full ascension to equality for one woman
involved in the pursuit of knowledge for knowledge sake. It has
taken bravery and an unflinching callousness in the face of unspeakable
In 1991, Dora E Angelaki published “Changes in the Dynamics
of the Vertical Vestibulo-Ocular Reflex Due to Linear Acceleration
in the Frontal Plane of the Cat.”2 Here, the Little
Angel of St. Louis described an early experiment of a type that
has remained her passion even to today. “The vertical and
horizontal components of the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) were
recorded in alert, restrained cats who were placed on their sides
and subjected to whole-body rotations in the horizontal plane. The
head was either on the axis or 45 cm eccentric from the axis rotation.”
She spun the cats with the lights on and in the dark.
During 1991, the Little Angel of St. Louis published three separate
articles,3, 4 detailing the results of spinning cats
in various ways. We can imagine the Little Angel as a child twisting
in a swing and spinning around and around until so dizzy she could
neither see nor walk straight. Maybe these experiences contributed
to her passion for spinning and shaking animals. Also in 1991, Angelaki
published details of her experiments spinning anesthetized gerbils.5
She discovered that the inner ears of gerbils and the inner ears
of rats are different.
1992 was a very productive year for the Little Angel of St. Louis.
She published nine papers in all. In “A Model for the Characterization
of the Spatial Properties in Vestibular Neurons,”6
she argued that the use of rats whose brains had been disconnected
from their spines were rewarding experimental tools. “In
this paper, extracellular recordings from otolith-sensitive vestibular
nuclei neurons in decerebrate rats were used to demonstrate the
practical application of the method.” It was also in 1992
that the Little Angel of St. Louis first exhibited her interest
in “wobbly eye” or nystagmus.7
In 1993 the Little Angel of St. Louis managed to get eight more
papers published. 1993 was also the first year she began publishing
the results of her experiments on monkeys.8 She demonstrated
that when rhesus monkeys are spun and shaken in just the right manner
that their eyes wobble.
|Sinusoidal oscillation of rhesus monkeys about a head-fixed,
earth-horizontal axis while rotating at constant velocity about
an earth-vertical axis generates a characteristic ocular nystagmus
where the three-dimensional slow phase eye velocity is compensatory
to the spatially and temporally changing head angular velocity
vector. This includes the generation of a unidirectional nystagmus
characterised by a "bias" slow phase velocity component,
albeit of small gain (0.2-0.7), that persists for the duration
of the combined two-axes stimulation.
She also demonstrated that she could interfere with the normal
ability of squirrel monkeys to compensate while being spun and keeping
their eyes on a target, by turning the lights out and mildly shocking
their inner ears.9 The Little Angel of St. Louis continued
to experiment on decerebrate rats.10 "Decerebrate"
describes animals whose cerebral brain functions have been eliminated
for experimental purposes by cutting their brain stem or by other
1994 was less productive for the Little Angel, but she did manage
to get two papers published. In one,11 she spins rhesus
monkeys in almost every conceivable manner (almost, because the
Little Angel of St. Louis is very imaginative and, as we shall see,
is constantly inventing new ways to spin and shake animals.)
|The spatial organization of the vestibuloocular reflex (VOR)
was studied in six rhesus monkeys by applying fast, short-lasting,
passive head and body tilts immediately after constant-velocity
rotation (+/- 90 degrees/s) about an earth-vertical axis…Horizontal
VOR was studied with the monkeys upright….Torsional VOR
was studied with the monkeys in supine or prone position.
The Little Angel of St. Louis began surgically modifying the monkeys
she experimented on in 1994 as well. “The vestibulo-ocular
reflex (VOR) was investigated in rhesus monkeys before and after
surgical ablation of the cerebellar nodulus and ventral uvula.”12
The cerebellar nodulus and ventral uvula are parts of the brain.
The Little Angel discovered that monkeys who had these brain structures
cut out did not develop the same wobbly eyes after being spun and
shaken as did monkeys whose brains were not chopped up. They also
had a hard time keeping their eye on a specific target as they were
being spun this way and that.
In 1995 the Little Angel continued her investigations into the effects
of spinning monkeys every which way after she had damaged parts
of their brains. “Here we report that surgical inactivation
of the cerebellar nodulus and ventral uvula abolished the ability
of the otolith system to generate steady-state nystagmus during
constant velocity rotation and to improve the dynamics of the vestibuloocular
reflex (VOR) during low-frequency sinusoidal oscillations about
off-vertical axes in rhesus monkeys.”13
There are three semicircular tubes in the bony labyrinth of the
inner ear. They are concerned with balance and our ability to tell
whether we are standing straight or leaning in some direction. In
1995, Angelaki first reported on her experiments plugging these
canals in monkeys’ inner ears and then spinning them.14 What
she discovered was that monkeys with the inner ear plugs also had
wobbly eyes after being spun in various directions, whereas monkeys
whose brains she had damaged and spun in the same ways sometimes
didn’t have wobbly eyes. At the end of 1995, the Little Angel
of St. Louis was able to announce, based on her nearly five years
of spinning various species and experimental brain surgeries that
“Inertial vestibular signals are likely to contribute to
head control and motor coordination of gaze, head and body posture.”15
1996 was a more productive year for the Little Angel. Her explanations
also started becoming more detailed. She was working in Jackson,
Mississippi at the University of Mississippi Medical Center at the
time, and we must imagine that the continued support by the university
gave her a confidence to try ever new and more abstract ways of
spinning animals. It seemed that every time she could contrive of
a novelty, there was always a scientific journal ready to publish
the results from her new experiments. The university must have felt
the prestige associated with having a scientist of the Little Angel’s
caliber on their staff.
A common theme in Angelaki’s experiments had become “sinusoidal
linear acceleration.” A sine wave is shaped like an ‘s’
lying on its side. So the monkeys experiencing “sinusoidal
linear acceleration” were being accelerated in a straight
line while being moved up and down like being on a roller
coaster without curves.
But this wasn’t all, as the monkeys were being accelerated
in this manner, the Little Angel of St. Louis also spun them this
way and that. And sometimes, all of this took place in the dark.
Maybe the Little Angel had a secret unfulfilled longing to work
in a carnival.
|The dynamic properties of otolith-ocular reflexes elicited
by sinusoidal linear acceleration along the three cardinal head
axes were studied during off-vertical axis rotations in rhesus
monkeys. As the head rotates in space at constant velocity about
an off-vertical axis, otolith-ocular reflexes are elicited in
response to the sinusoidally varying linear acceleration (gravity)
components along the interaural, nasooccipital, or vertical
head axis…. Animals were rotated in complete darkness
in the yaw, pitch, and roll planes at velocities ranging between
7.4 and 184 degrees/s.16
More variation was needed in order to keep publishing. “In
an attempt to separate response components to head velocity from
those to head position relative to gravity during low-frequency
sinusoidal oscillations, large oscillation amplitudes were chosen
such that peak-to-peak head displacements exceeded 360 degrees.”17
And she continued to plug ear canals:
|The ability of the vestibuloocular reflex (VOR) to undergo
adaptive modification after selective changes in the peripheral
vestibular system was investigated in rhesus monkeys by recording
three-dimensional eye movements before and after inactivation
of selective semicircular canals…. The spatial organization
of the VOR was investigated during oscillations at different
head positions in the pitch, roll, and yaw planes, as well as
in the right anterior/left posterior and left anterior/right
posterior canal planes. Acutely after bilateral inactivation
of the lateral semicircular canals, a small horizontal response
could still be elicited that peaked during rotations in pitched
head positions that would maximally stimulate vertical semicircular
By 1997, the Little Angel of St. Louis was in her full stride:
|This study presents data obtained from five juvenile rhesus
monkeys (Macaca mulatta) that were prepared chronically with
a scleral dual-search coil for three-dimensional eye movement
recording and head bolts for restraining the head during the
experiments. … During the experiments, animals were seated
in a primate chair with the head restrained in a position of
15° nose-down relative to the stereotaxic horizontal (defined
as "upright" position) to place the lateral semicircular
canals approximately earth horizontal…
|The animals were placed inside the inner frame of a multiaxis
turntable with three motor-driven gimbaled axes. The effect
of dynamic changes in head orientation relative to gravity on
fast and slow eye movements was studied during either constant-velocity
rotation or sinusoidal oscillations of the animals about their
head-vertical (yaw) axis, which was oriented in the earth-horizontal
plane (90° off-vertical).19
During 1997, the Little Angel returned briefly to her experiments
The papers authored by Angelaki rarely mention a possible health
need associated with the experiments she has and is conducting.
She does not mention how her work might be useful in combating disease
nor does she suggest that the results might offer insight into a
human malady. Angelaki is interested in mathematical formulae that
might model the vestibuloocular reflex (VOR) and the adaptive modifications
in the animal’s system following experimental injury. It
seems not unreasonable to ask what might bring someone to the point
in their life that they would not only contemplate performing such
experiments, but actually carry them out, repetitively. Nor is it
unreasonable to ask, how the universities’ oversight committees
could have allowed such experiments to have continued on and on
with no pretense of medical importance. (The lack of meaningful
oversight by the universities’ oversight committees appears
to be the norm.)21
It is reasonable to fault Angelaki directly; she is responsible
for doing what she has done. It is unreasonable to assign her sole
blame. The U.S. government has funded Angelaki’s work. This
means that many people share equally in the responsibility for Angelaki’s
research. The system of checks and balances does not work. We might
wish to believe that Angelaki is an anomaly of some sort, that she
is performing her nightmarish investigations at some out-of-the-way
backwater, or maybe she is actually at a lab in a facility so large
that she has gotten lost in the shuffle.
The Little Angel has been affiliated with many institutions. They
all sanctioned her work. Many people know what she does, her work
is published in publicly accessible, if obscure, scientific journals.
We should ask: Why does American society allow and pay to have such
experiments performed? What has become of a society that has institutions
that condone and nurture scientists who wish to perform such experiments?
What has become of a society where citizens who hear of such atrocity
turn away? What of a legal system that would protect such behavior?
What of a society that would elect politicians who would provide
public support for such experiments?
Something has gone wrong.
In 1991 the Little Angel of St. Louis was affiliated with the University
of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston. In 1992 the Little Angel of
St. Louis was involved with the Department of Physiology at the
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis and the Department of Neurology
at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. By 1996, the Little Angel
was with the Department of Surgery (Otolaryngology) at the University
of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson.
In 1998, Angelaki explained that her methods were within the accepted
|Seven rhesus monkeys were chronically prepared with skull
bolts to restrain the head during experiments and implanted
with a dual search coil for three-dimensional eye movement recordings
using the magnetic search coil technique. Of these, five animals
were used for control responses. In addition, data were also
collected from five animals after selective semicircular canals
were inactivated by plugging. The lateral canals were plugged
in two (LC) animals, the right anterior/left posterior canals
were plugged in another two (RALP) animals, and all canals were
plugged in the fifth animal…. The efficacy of canal-plugging
has been histologically verified…. All surgeries were
performed under intubation anesthesia, and animal treatment
and handling was in accordance with the National Institutes
of Health guidelines.
For experiments, the monkeys were seated in a primate chair
with their heads restrained in a position such that the horizontal
stereotaxic plane was tilted15° nose-down. In this head
position, the vertical semicircular canals were approximately
perpendicular and the lateral semicircular canals approximately
parallel to the earth-horizontal plane. The monkeys were placed
in a primate chair that was secured inside a motorized three-dimensional
turntable that could deliver both earth-vertical and -horizontal
axis rotations about the yaw, pitch, and roll axes. The turntable
was surrounded completely by a light-tight sphere (80 cm radius)
covered with a random dot pattern such that eye movements could
be studied in complete darkness (when the lights inside the
sphere were off). This sphere also could be oscillated independently
such that horizontal or vertical (but not torsional) optokinetic
optic flow could be generated (with the lights inside the sphere
Before experimental sessions, animals were given a small dose
of d-amphetamine (1.5 mg orally) to maintain a constant level
of alertness. Monkeys were subjected to 2 h of simultaneous
vestibular and optokinetic oscillations at each of two frequencies….22
This gives us a clear indication of what National Institutes of
Health guidelines allow to occur.
Also, in 1998, the Little Angel of St. Louis published “Three-Dimensional
Organization of Otolith-Ocular Reflexes in Rhesus Monkeys. III.
Responses to Translation.”23 It seems she was
willing to perform ever more bizarre and questionable experimental
surgeries to prepare her experimental victims.
In this paper she introduced the novelty of tilting the monkeys
heads at 18° nose down, as opposed to her previous 15° nose-down
regime. Regarding the 15° she had said, “In this head
position, the vertical semicircular canals were approximately perpendicular
and the lateral semicircular canals approximately parallel to the
earth-horizontal plane.” Regarding the 18° she now said,
“This head position was used to place the lateral semicircular
canals approximately parallel to the earth-horizontal plane, whereas
at the same time keeping the vertical semicircular canals as vertically
oriented as possible.”
|Five young rhesus monkeys (3-4 kg) were used in the present
studies. Each animal was chronically implanted with a delrin
ring imbedded in dental acrylic that was anchored to the skull
by six stainless steel screws that were inverted and placed
into T-slots cut into the skull. The ring was lightweight but
provided a strong head restraint for vigorous stimulus motion
and was used extensively for similar types of experimentation.
In separate surgical procedures, a dual search coil designed
for recording 3-D eye movements was implanted on each eye under
the conjunctiva at ~3-5 mm from the limbus cornea and anterior
to all eye muscle insertions. The lead wires from the eye coil
were passed out of the orbit, under the muscle and skin, to
the top of the skull where they exited inside the delrin ring.
A connector plug was soldered to the lead wires and secured
to the head ring with dental acrylic. When the animals were
in their cages, the implanted delrin ring was covered with a
cap to protect the eye coil plugs. After control responses were
collected, all six semicircular canals were inactivated in two
animals by plugging the canal lumen. Canal-plugged animals showed
no evidence of increased spontaneous nystagmus either acutely
or chronically. Following the surgery, the animals were kept
in complete darkness until the following morning when the animals
were brought to the laboratory for vestibular testing ("acute"
experimental protocol). After this acute VOR testing, the animals
were returned to the regular, daily light-dark cycle. All surgical
procedures were performed under sterile conditions in accordance
with the NIH guidelines
|During experimental testing, the monkeys were seated in a
primate chair with their heads statically positioned such that
the horizontal stereotaxic plane was tilted 18° nose down.
This head position was used to place the lateral semicircular
canals approximately parallel to the earth-horizontal plane,
whereas at the same time keeping the vertical semicircular canals
as vertically oriented as possible. The animal's body was secured
with shoulder and lap belts, whereas the extremities were loosely
tied to the chair. The primate chair was then secured inside
the inner frame of a vestibular turntable consisting of a 3-D
rotator on top of a linear sled (Acutronics). The two inner
frames of the turntable were manufactured by nonmetalic composite
materials to minimize interference with the magnetic fields.
In addition, the whole rotator assembly was specially constructed
to provide rigid coupling between the motion generator (in these
experiments, the linear sled) and the animal. The linear sled
(2-m length) was powered by a servo-controlled linear motor
that could deliver steady-state sinusoidal stimulation in a
large frequency range (0.16-25 Hz). Using the 3-D turntable,
the animals were repositioned relative to the direction of translation
such that translational VORs were recorded during lateral (i.e.,
along the interaural axis, with the animals either upright or
supine), fore-aft (i.e., along the naso-occipital axis, with
the animals upright), and up-down (i.e., along the vertical
head- and body-axis, with the animals either supine or right
ear down) motion. For the present experiments, eye movements
were recorded in complete darkness. For this, the animal's chair
was completely surrounded by a light-tight sphere (61-cm radius).
1999 was a productive year for the Little Angel. She succeeded
in getting six papers published:
1. Oculomotor Control of Primary Eye Position Discriminates Between
Translation and Tilt (Journal of Neurophysiology)
2. Short-Latency Primate Vestibuloocular Responses During Translation
(Journal of Neurophysiology)
3. Computation of Inertial Motion: Neural Strategies to Resolve
Ambiguous Otolith Information (Journal of Neuroscience)
4. Functional Organization of Primate Translational Vestibulo-Ocular
Reflexes and Effects of Unilateral Labyrinthectomy (Annals of the
New York Academy of Science)
5. Inertial Processing of Vestibulo-Ocular Signals (Annals of the
New York Academy of Science)
6. Three-Dimensional Organization of Vestibular-Related Eye Movements
to Off-Vertical Axis Rotation and Linear Translation in Pigeons
(Experimental Brain Research)
In Occulomotor Control24 (1 above) the Little Angel described
her newest innovation for shaking the monkeys:
|Data were obtained from five juvenile rhesus monkeys (Macaca
mulatta), which were chronically prepared with scleral dual-search
coils for three-dimensional eye movement recording and a delrin
head ring for restraining the head during the experiments….During
the experiments, animals were seated in a primate chair with
the head restrained in a position of 18° nose-down relative
to the stereotaxic horizontal (defined as "upright"
position) to place the lateral semicircular canals approximately
earth-horizontal. The animals were placed inside the inner frame
of a superstructure consisting of two motor-driven gimbaled
axes. The superstructure was mounted on a computer-controlled
sled that moved on ball-bearings on a 2.0 m long earth-horizontal
|Short Latency25 (number 2 above) repeats,
what has become for the Little Angel of St. Louis, the routine
shaking and accelerating. The Little Angel, at this point in
time, seemed to be on a plateau of experimental routine, with
little novelty in her studies. She wrote:
|Four juvenile rhesus monkeys were chronically implanted
with a head restraint platform and dual coils on each eye. Binocular
three-dimensional (3-D) eye movements were recorded inside a
magnetic field (CNC Engineering), then calibrated and expressed
as rotation vectors (relative to straight-ahead; leftward was
positive). The motion was delivered by a whole-body displacement
on a sled (Acutronics) either along the lateral or fore-aft
direction. Translational stimuli consisted of a steplike linear
acceleration profile, followed by a short period of constant
velocity (peak linear acceleration: 0.5 G; steady-state velocity:
±22 cm/s). The stimulus waveform had a frequency content
of <50 Hz.
2000 was a good year for the Little Angel. She published seven
papers, though six of them were in the Journal of Neurophysiology.
She published a four-part series of papers titled Primate Translational
Vestibuloocular Reflexes. I, II, III and IV. In part I, High-Frequency
Dynamics and Three-Dimensional Properties During Lateral Motion,26
Angelaki explained her techniques:
|Five juvenile rhesus monkeys were chronically implanted with
a circular molded, lightweight dental acrylic ring that was
anchored to the skull by stainless steel screws (for more details,
see Angelaki 1998). Dual eye coils designed for recording binocular
3-D eye movements were implanted under the conjunctiva at ~3-5
mm from the limbus corneae and anterior to all eye muscle insertions
(Hess 1990). Coils were sutured securely to the globe with at
least four silk stitches. The lead wires were passed out of
the orbit, under the muscle and skin to the head holder where
they were soldered to connectors and secured to the head ring
with dental acrylic. When animals were in their cages, the implanted
delrin ring was covered with a cap to protect the eye coil plugs.
All surgical procedures were performed under sterile conditions
in accordance to institutional guidelines….
The dual eye coil assembly that was implanted on each eye consisted
of two serially interconnected miniature coils (Sokymat, Switzerland)
that were attached at diagonal points along the circumference
of a large three-turn coil (Cooner wire, ~15 mm diam). The exact
orientation of the two coils relative to one another, as well
as the orientation of the dual search coil on the eye were determined
based on both preimplantation and daily calibration procedures
Before implantation, each dual eye coil was calibrated using
a calibration jig. Using rotations about all three axes, this
calibration yielded the horizontal and vertical angular orientations
of the two coil sensitivity vectors as well as the angle between
them. Because of the stable geometry of the dual coil assembly,
these parameters were assumed to remain unchanged before and
after implantation. On each experimental session and before
the experimental protocols, pretrained animals performed a visual
fixation task (targets at a distance of 1.5 m)….
During experimental testing, the monkeys were seated in a primate
chair with their heads statically positioned such that the horizontal
stereotaxic plane was tilted 18° nose-down. The animal's
body was secured with shoulder and lap belts, while the extremities
were loosely restrained to the chair. The primate chair then
was secured inside the inner frame of a vestibular turntable
consisting of a 3-D rotator on top of a linear sled (Acutronics).
The two inner frames of the turntable and the associated gimbal
structures were manufactured by nonmetalic composite materials
to minimize interference with the magnetic fields. In addition,
the whole rotator assembly and gimbal structure were constructed
specially to provide rigid coupling between the motion generator
and the animal. For these experiments, animals were maintained
upright and were translated laterally during stimulation. Before
experimental sessions, animals were sometimes given a small
dose of D-amphetamine (1.0 mg orally) to maintain a constant
level of alertness.
All animals participating in these experiments were pretrained
using juice rewards to fixate targets paired with auditory cues
for variable time periods (300-1000 ms), then to maintain fixation
after the target was turned off for as long as the auditory
tone was present (1 s). During all fixations, the room was illuminated
(through small red lights) such that the animals could easily
establish relative distance estimates of the targets. Adequate
fixation was defined when both eyes were within behavioral windows
(separate for each eye) of less than ±1.0° (for far
and near central targets) or ±2.0° (for near eccentric
targets with eye position >20°). Usually animals were
trained 5 days/wk with free access to water during the weekend.
During experimental testing, animals were oscillated sinusoidally
at different frequencies…
Because the present study employed high-frequency stimulation,
the possibility for artifact in the recordings has been a main
concern. We have addressed this problem with the following steps.
First, we constructed a high-rigidity gimbal and coil frames
as well as head attachment couplings. Second, we monitored a
head coil securely fastened on the animal's head and measured
the elicited "eye" movements immediately after an
animal had been euthanized. Each of these steps is described
in more detail in the following text. Finally, we have limited
our quantitative analyses to data where the estimated error
in measurement was judged to be <10% (usually <5%).
Special care was taken to tightly and securely fasten the animal's
head to the magnetic coils and to the stiff inner gimbal of
the 3-D turntable. In addition, the eye coil leads were taped
securely to the superstructure. The following control experiments
were conducted to quantify the errors in our eye movement measurements.
To investigate the possibility that the head coil did not accurately
reflect the movement of the head (e.g., through incomplete coupling
or loose head-holder), the following test was performed. Within
less than an hour after an animal was euthanized and perfused,
the head was put into the superstructure in exactly the same
position and was mounted exactly the same way as during experiments….
[This work was supported by grants from the National Eye Institute
(EY-12814 and EY-10851), the Air Force Office of Scientific
Research (F-49620), and the Swiss National Science Foundation
(31-4728796) and by a Presidential Young Investigator Award
for Scientists and Engineers (National Aeronautics and Space
Administration NAG 5-3884).]
It is certainly a novel idea to cut a monkey’s head off
and reattach it to the experimental apparatus and check to see how
bounce inherent in the apparatus might be affecting the data. That
Little Angel… always striving for the new and untested.
In Part II, Version and Vergence Responses to Fore-Aft Motion,27
|Nine juvenile rhesus monkeys provided the data presented here.
Each animal was chronically implanted with a lightweight delrin
head ring anchored to the skull with stainless steel screws
and dental acrylic. Dual scleral eye coils were implanted in
both eyes beneath the conjunctiva and sutured to the globe anterior
to all muscular insertions. All surgical procedures were performed
aseptically in accordance with National Institutes of Health
In Part III, Effects of Bilateral Labyrinthine Electrical Stimulation,28
|Five juvenile rhesus monkeys were chronically implanted with
a circular molded, light-weight dental acrylic ring that was
anchored by stainless steel screws, placed as inverted T-bolts
under the skull and then secured to the ring. For single-unit
recordings from the vestibular nerve in three of the animals,
a platform (3 cm × 3 cm, 5 mm height) constructed of machinable
plastic-delrin was secured stereotaxically to the skull and
fitted inside the head ring. The platform had staggered rows
of holes (spaced 0.8 mm apart) that extended from the midline
to the area overlying the vestibular nerves bilaterally.
Subsequent to the eye coil surgeries and after animals had been
trained sufficiently to fixate visual targets, labyrinthine
stimulating electrodes were implanted in both ears. An incision
was made on the rear side of the pinna and the temporal bone
exposed. The soft tissue of the external ear canal was displaced
gently and the bony meatus enlarged using a dental drill until
the long process of the malleus and the chorda tympani (facial
nerve) were visualized. A platinized Teflon-insulated silver
wire (250 µm diam and insulated to within 1 mm of its
tip) then was press fit into a small hole drilled into the promontorium
between the round and oval windows. The electrode penetrated
into the perilymphatic space but was sealed against perilymphatic
leak by the Teflon insulation. A second, reference electrode
was placed into a hole drilled close to the entrance of the
bony meatus. The two wires were led under the skin to the top
of the skull and mated to a connector. The incision in the temporal
muscle and the skin was sutured closed. When animals were in
their cages, the implanted delrin ring was covered with a cap
to protect the recording platform and prohibit the animals from
touching the leads of the eye coils and stimulating electrodes.
…1) Three animals were sinusoidally laterally
translated in complete darkness at several frequencies ranging
between 0.3 and 12 Hz. At the lowest frequencies (0.3 and 0.37
Hz), the stimulus amplitude was 0.2 and 0.3 g, respectively.
At higher frequencies, the amplitude was 0.3-0.4 g. To examine
if the effects of the currents differed for different stimulus
amplitudes, peak linear acceleration for 5-Hz oscillations was
varied between 0.1 and 0.4 g in two animals.
2) Four animals were oscillated laterally at different frequencies
between 4 and 12 Hz (0.3-0.4 g) while fixating on a centered
(i.e., approximately zero horizontal eccentricity relative to
a point midway between the two eyes) head-fixed target LED located
40, 30, 20, 15, or 10 cm from the eyes (in an otherwise dark
|It should be noted, perhaps, that the unit of measure
Hz is hertz. Hertz is a measure of cycles per second. Thus,
when the Little Angel says she oscillated monkeys laterally
at 12 Hz, what she is saying is that she shook them back and
forth 12 times a second. Typically, in her studies, she maintains
the oscillations for two hours at a time.
Part IV, Changes After Unilateral Labyrinthectomy,29
is essentially more of the same sort of experimentation
the shaking, accelerating, etc, but with the monkeys’
inner ear structure, the labyrinth, surgically damaged either
in one ear or both. Some of the monkeys used in this series
of experiments had been used previously in some of the semi-circular
canal plugging experiments. “In two of the animals (B
and E), the left labyrinth was destroyed. The other three animals
(H, P, and R) underwent right labyrinthectomy. Animals B and
R were labyrinthectomized 3-4 mo after all semicircular canals
were inactivated as part of a different study. In animals E,
H, and P, the semicircular canals were intact at the time of
Using animals in multiple survival surgeries is generally considered
to be a violation of the federal Animal Welfare Act, but the
sky was the limit for the Little Angel because she had finally
secured her position in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology
at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri.
|Washington University School of Medicine holds
a rich history of success in research, education and patient
care, earning it a reputation as one of the premier medical
schools in the world. Since its founding in 1891, the School
has trained nearly 6,000 physicians and has contributed ground-breaking
discoveries in many areas of medical research.30
It would be unreasonable to assume that “one of the premier
medical schools in the world” was not aware of the Little
Angel’s published papers. One could wonder whether it was
the severed monkeys’ heads spinning and being shaken in the
Little Angel’s macabre machinery that appealed most to the
selection committee at the Washington University School of Medicine.
Perhaps it was the vigor of her publishing history after
all, claiming that a new faculty member has published forty-eight
papers (at this point in her career) sounds impressive; and the
likelihood that anyone would actually go out and read them, remote.
One has to wonder just what it was about the Little Angel that Washington
University School of Medicine found so attractive. Her work has
no pretense of applicability to human medicine. She is not claiming
in her publications to be looking for a cure for deafness, a cure
for nystagmus, vertigo, or motion sickness, though the monkeys she
uses may well find the erratic motions she subjects them to sickening….
What could be behind a decision to bring someone such as the Little
Angel and all their contraptions to one’s university? Perhaps
we will never know.
What is certain, however, is that she has continued to find the
same support at Washington University School of Medicine as she
had at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. The fact that
schools of medicine have supported, and continue to support the
Little Angel’s work is a living and loud rebuttal to the
claim that the research occurring in these institutions is intended
to help humans, is carefully considered for the probability that
it will yield benefit, or that the animal-use oversight committees,
the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees in the vernacular
of the Animal Welfare Act, are in the least iota, meaningful.
One way a scientist’s work can be judged is by the number
of times a paper is cited by other scientists. This is considered
a measure of noteworthiness. Important papers may be cited frequently
and repeatedly in the literature. Papers cited rarely, or never,
may be seen as unimportant to the rest of the community of science.
For instance, Angelaki’s Three-Dimensional Organization of
Otolith-Ocular Reflexes in Rhesus Monkeys. III. Responses to Translation
(see note 23), published in 1998 has been cited eleven times, perhaps
an impressive number considering the arcane nature of the Little
Angel’s work. But, eight of these citations were Angelaki
citing her own work. Many of her papers have been cited only once,
and some by only herself or another of her co-authors. Essentially,
no one in the scientific community is paying any attention to her
work, or, if they are reading her studies at all, is judging them
insufficient to draw upon.
In any event, the St. Louis research community continues to support
and nurture the Little Angel. Since moving to the Washington University
School of Medicine in St. Louis, Dora Angelaki has published an
additional six papers, three more in 2000 and three, so far, in
2001. While there, she has published:
1. Low-Frequency Otolith and Semicircular Canal Interactions after
Canal Inactivation (2000, Experimental Brain Research)
2. Spatiotemporal Processing of Linear Acceleration: Primary Afferent
and Central Vestibular Neuron Responses (2000, Journal of Neurophysiology)
3. Central Versus Peripheral Origin of Vestibuloocular Reflex Recovery
Following Semicircular Canal Plugging in Rhesus Monkeys (2000, Journal
4. Differential Sensorimotor Processing of Vestibulo-Ocular Signals
During Rotation and Translation (2001, Journal of Neuroscience)
5. Cross-Axis Adaptation of the Translational Vestibulo-Ocular
Reflex (2001, Experimental Brain Research)
6. Head Unrestrained Horizontal Gaze Shifts after Unilateral Labyrinthectomy
in the Rhesus Monkey (2001, Experimental Brain Research)
In Fiscal 2000, the Little Angel of St. Louis received public support
for her research through two federal grants. Under one grant, 5
R01DC004260-02, Neural Mechanisms of Vestibular Adaptation, she
received $219,951. This was awarded by the National Institute on
Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, a part of the National
Institutes of Health (NIH). This grant will continue to be funded
at this annual rate through 2004. In her written justification for
receiving these funds, Angelaki writes:
|Changes in vestibular function through disease, trauma and
aging occur frequently and are particularly pronounced with
exposure to unusual motion or gravitational environments. Throughout
the history of the manned space flight program, the introduction
of the body into microgravity has produced vestibular-related
disturbances that result in personal discomfort and a loss in
crew performance. Since the symptoms subside within several
days of microgravity exposure, it suggests that the vestibular
system responses can adaptively change to altered sensory conditions.
These changes may be similar to the process of vestibular compensation
which is observed following unilateral labyrinthine loss or
alterations in visual-vestibular interactions. In order to better
understand the nature of vestibular adaptation and its effects
upon motor function, the processes underlying neural plasticity
and adaptation to altered vestibular signals must be established.31
For grant 5 R01EY012814-02, 3D Organization and Neural Plasticity
of Primate VOR, she received $290,127 from the National Eye Institute,
another tentacle of NIH. This grant will continue to be funded at
a comparable annual rate through 2003.
Dora E. Angelaki, the Little Angel of St. Louis, will continue to
perform her cruel and meaningless experiments on monkeys. She will
continue to be paid to do this with money taken from taxpayers.
The biomedical lobby will continue to defend every experiment performed
on animals, no matter how absurd or cruel, no matter how meaningless
or wasteful; that’s their job, and they pursue it with great
zest and relish. Until the public speaks with a loud enough voice,
the politicians with the power to end these horrors will not listen,
they simply will not care.
Knowing now, as you do, what is happening in U.S. laboratories,
you must become either an accomplice by remaining silent and doing
nothing, or else, you must become actively involved somehow. By
becoming involved, you will be branded a nut. Only nuts, apparently,
care enough about torture to speak out against it.
September 5, 2001
1. Angelaki: little angel (modern Greek)
2. Angelaki DE, Anderson JH, Blakley BW. Changes
in the dynamics of the vertical
vestibulo-ocular reflex due to linear acceleration in the frontal
plane of the cat.
Experimental Brain Research. 1991; 86(1):27-39.
3. Angelaki DE, Anderson JH. The horizontal vestibulo-ocular
reflex during linear
acceleration in the frontal plane of the cat. Experimental Brain
4. Angelaki DE, Anderson JH. The vestibulo-ocular reflex in the
cat during linear
acceleration in the sagittal plane. Brain Research. 1991 Mar 15;
5. Dickman JD, Angelaki DE, Correia MJ. Response properties of
gerbil otolith afferents
to small angle pitch and roll tilts. Brain Research. 1991 Aug
6. Angelaki DE, Bush GA, Perachio AA. A model for the characterization
of the spatial
properties in vestibular neurons. Biological Cybernetics. 1992;66(3):231-40.
7. Angelaki DE, Perachio AA, Mustari MJ, Strunk CL. Role of irregular
in the steady-state nystagmus during off-vertical axis rotation.
Journal of Neurophysiology.
1992 Nov; 68(5):1895-900.
8. Hess BJ, Angelaki DE. Angular velocity detection by head movements
the plane of rotation. Experimental Brain Research. 1993; 95(1):77-83.
9. Angelaki DE, Perachio AA. Contribution of irregular semicircular
canal afferents to
the horizontal vestibuloocular response during constant velocity
rotation. Journal of
Neurophysiology. 1993 Mar; 69(3):996-9.
10. Angelaki DE, Bush GA, Perachio AA. Two-dimensional spatiotemporal
linear acceleration in vestibular nuclei neurons. Journal of Neuroscience.
11. Angelaki DE, Hess BJ. Inertial representation of angular
motion in the vestibular
system of rhesus monkeys. I. Vestibuloocular reflex. Journal of
12. Angelaki DE, Hess BJ. The cerebellar nodulus and ventral
uvula control the torsional
vestibulo-ocular reflex. Journal of Neurophysiology. 1994 Sep;72(3):1443-7.
13. Angelaki DE, Hess BJ. Lesion of the nodulus and ventral uvula
off-vertical axis otolith response. Journal of Neurophysiology.
14. Angelaki DE, Hess BJ. Inertial representation of angular
motion in the vestibular
system of rhesus monkeys. II. Otolith-controlled transformation
that depends on an intact
cerebellar nodulus. Journal of Neurophysiol. 1995 May; 73(5):1729-51.
15. Angelaki DE, Hess BJ, Suzuki J. Differential processing of
semicircular canal signals
in the vestibulo-ocular reflex. Journal of Neuroscience. 1995
16. Angelaki DE, Hess BJ. Three-dimensional organization of otolith-ocular
rhesus monkeys. I. Linear acceleration responses during off-vertical
axis rotation. Journal
of Neurophysiology. 1996 Jun;75(6):2405-24.
17. Angelaki DE, Hess BJ. Three-dimensional organization of otolith-ocular
rhesus monkeys. II. Inertial detection of angular velocity. Journal
1996 Jun; 75(6):2425-40.
18. Angelaki DE, Hess BJ. Adaptation of primate vestibuloocular
reflex to altered
peripheral vestibular inputs. II Spatiotemporal properties of
the adapted slow-phase eye
velocity. Journal of Neurophysiology. 1996 Nov;76(5):2954-71.
19. Hess BJ, Angelaki DE. Kinematic principles of primate rotational
reflex. II. Gravity-dependent modulation of primary eye position.
Journal of Neurophysiology.
1997 Oct; 78(4):2203-16.
20. Si X, Angelaki DE, Dickman JD. Response properties of pigeon
otolith afferents to
linear acceleration. Experimental Brain Research. 1997 Nov;117(2):242-50.
21. Plous S, Herzog H. Animal research: reliability of protocol
reviews for animal research.
Science. 2001 Jul; 298(5530): 608-609.
22. Angelaki DE, Hess BJ. Visually induced adaptation in three-dimensional
of primate vestibuloocular reflex. Journal of Neurophysiology.
23. Angelaki DE. Three-dimensional organization of otolith-ocular
reflexes in rhesus
monkeys. III. Responses To translation. Journal of Neurophysiology.
1998 Aug; 80(2):680-95.
24. Hess BJ, Angelaki DE. Oculomotor control of primary eye position
between translation and tilt. Journal of Neurophysiology. 1999
25. Angelaki DE, McHenry MQ. Short-latency primate vestibuloocular
translation. Journal of Neurophysiology. 1999 Sep; 82(3):1651-4
26. Angelaki DE, McHenry MQ, Hess BJ. Primate translational vestibuloocular
High-frequency dynamics and three-dimensional properties during
Journal of Neurophysiology. 2000 Mar;83(3):1637-47.
27. McHenry MQ, Angelaki DE. Primate translational vestibuloocular
Version and vergence responses to fore-aft motion. Journal of
2000 Mar; 83(3):1648-61.
28. Angelaki DE, McHenry MQ, Dickman JD, Perachio AA. Primate
vestibuloocular reflexes. III. Effects of bilateral labyrinthine
Journal of Neurophysiology. 2000 Mar; 83(3):1662-76.
29. Angelaki DE, Newlands SD, Dickman JD. Primate translational
reflexes. IV. Changes after unilateral labyrinthectomy. Journal
of Neurophysiology. 2000
30 From Washington University School of Medicine's home page
31. CRISP (Computer Retrieval of Information on Scientific Projects)
Extramural Research at the National Institutes of Health.
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