Navigation Links
Dolphin 'therapy' a dangerous fad, Emory researchers warn
Date:12/18/2007

People suffering from chronic mental or physical disabilities should not resort to a dolphin "healing" experience, warn two researchers from Emory University. Lori Marino, senior lecturer in the Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology Program, has teamed with Scott Lilienfeld, professor in the Department of Psychology, to launch an educational campaign countering claims made by purveyors of what is known as dolphin-assisted therapy (DAT).

"Dolphin-assisted therapy is not a valid treatment for any disorder," says Marino, a leading dolphin and whale researcher. "We want to get the word out that it's a lose-lose situation for people and for dolphins."

While swimming with dolphins may be a fun, novel experience, no scientific evidence exists for any long-term benefit from DAT, Marino says. She adds that people who spend thousands of dollars for DAT don't just lose out financially they put themselves, and the dolphin, at risk of injury or infection. And they are supporting an industry that outside of the United States takes dolphins from the wild in a brutal process that often leaves several dolphins dead for every surviving captive.

Marino and Lilienfeld reviewed five studies published during the past eight years and found that the claims for efficacy for DAT were invalid. Their conclusions were published recently in Anthrozos, the journal of the International Society for Anthrozoology, in a paper entitled "Dolphin-Assisted Therapy: More Flawed Data and More Flawed Conclusions."

"We found that all five studies were methodologically flawed and plagued by several threats to both internal and construct validity," wrote Marino and Lilienfeld, who conducted a similar review in 1998. "We conclude that nearly a decade following our initial review, there remains no compelling evidence that DAT is a legitimate therapy, or that it affords any more than fleeting improvements in mood."

An upcoming issue of the newsletter of the American Psychological Association's Division of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities will feature another article by Marino and Lilienfeld, entitled "Dolphin-Assisted Therapy for Autism and Other Developmental Disorders: A Dangerous Fad."

"We want to reach psychologists with this message, because DAT is increasingly being applied to children with developmental disabilities, although there is no good evidence that it works," said Lilienfeld, a clinical psychologist. "It's hard to imagine the rationale for a technique that, at best, makes a child feel good in the short run, but could put the child at risk of harm."

The Emory scientists have timed their campaign to coincide with a recent call by two UK-based non-profits the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society and Research Autism to ban the practice of DAT.

While Marino is against taking dolphins from the wild and holding them captive for any purpose, she finds DAT especially egregious, because the people who are being exploited are the most vulnerable including desperate parents who are willing to try anything to help a child with a disability.

Many people are under the impression that dolphins would never harm a human. "In reality, injury is a very real possibility when you place a child in a tank with a 400-pound wild animal that may be traumatized from being captured," Marino says.

Dolphins are bred in captivity in U.S. marine parks, but in other countries they are often taken from the wild. "If people knew how these animals were captured, I don't think they would want to swim with them in a tank or participate in DAT," Marino says, referring to an annual "dolphin drive" in Japan. "During the dolphin drives hundreds of animals are killed, or panicked and die of heart attacks, in water that's red with their blood, while trainers from facilities around the world pick out young animals for their marine parks. They hoist them out of the water, sometimes by their tail flukes, and take them away."

Each live dolphin can bring a fisherman $50,000 or more, she says. "The marine parks make millions off of dolphins, so that's a drop in the bucket. It's an irony that dolphins are among the most beloved, and the most exploited, animals in the world," Marino says.


'/>"/>

Contact: Beverly Clark
beverly.clark@emory.edu
404-712-8780
Emory University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Baiji Dolphin previously thought extinct spotted in the Yangtze River
2. Migrating squid drove evolution of sonar in whales and dolphins, researchers argue
3. Scientists fear rare dolphin driven to extinction by human activities
4. A new radiation therapy treatment developed for head and neck cancer patients
5. St. Jude finds factors that accelerate resistance to targeted therapy in lymphoblastic leukemia
6. UC health news: molecular pathway may predict chemotherapy effectiveness
7. MIT works toward safer gene therapy
8. Intravenous gene therapy protects normal tissue of mice during whole-body radiation
9. Gene, stem cell therapy only needs to be 50 percent effective to create a healthy heart
10. Fourth Annual International Conference on Cell Therapy for Cardiovascular Diseases
11. Safe and effective therapy discovered for patients with protein-losing enteropathy
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/30/2017)... 30, 2017 The research team of The ... (3D) fingerprint identification by adopting ground breaking 3D fingerprint minutiae recovery ... of speed and accuracy for use in identification, crime investigation, immigration ... ... A research team ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... March 28, 2017 The report ... (Camera, Monitors, Servers, Storage Devices), Software (Video Analytics, VMS), ... - Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the ... and is projected to reach USD 75.64 Billion by ... 2022. The base year considered for the study is ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... , Mar 24, 2017 Research and ... Access System Market Analysis & Trends - Industry Forecast to 2025" ... ... to grow at a CAGR of around 15.1% over the next ... This industry report analyzes the market estimates and forecasts for all ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/26/2017)... , ... April 26, 2017 , ... ... and drive high-level conversations among healthcare industry stakeholders, the discussion surrounding the topic ... taking place May 15-18, 2017 in Los Angeles, Calif. Hosted by the Workgroup ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... ... , ... As part of the Stago EdVantage Virtual University Virtual ... in order to illuminate this clinical problem for people unfamiliar with the topic. , ... a high degree of morbidity and mortality. DIC is a confusing disorder from both ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... ... April 25, 2017 , ... ... is pleased to announce the company is now a certified iMedNet eClinical and ... software certification enables the company’s clinical research team to build, customize and manage ...
(Date:4/25/2017)... SC (PRWEB) , ... April 25, 2017 , ... ... Piedmont Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, P.A. , proudly announced today that acclaimed ... officially commence his duties on May 15, 2017. , Dr. Terzella completed his ...
Breaking Biology Technology: