Edward Taub (born 1931, Brooklyn New York) is a behavioral neuroscientist on the faculty at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is best known for his involvement in the Silver Spring monkeys case and for making major breakthroughs in the area of neuroplasticity and discovering/developing constraint-induced movement therapy; a family of techniques which helps the rehabilitation of people who have developed learned non-use as a result of suffering neurological injuries from a stroke or other cause.
Taub's techniques have helped survivors regain the use of paralysed limbs, and has been hailed by the American Stroke Association as "at the forefront of a revolution". The Society for Neuroscience cited Taub's work as one of top 10 translational Neuroscience accomplishments of the 20th century and he was awarded the 2004 Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association.
Silver Spring trial
Taub's studies have involved using animal test subjects, including seventeen macaque monkeys living inside the Institute of Behavioral Research in Silver Spring, Maryland. These monkeys, known as the Silver Spring monkeys, became the focus of a protest spearheaded by Alex Pacheco of the animal-rights group PETA in 1981.
After Pacheco submitted his allegations to the authorities, Taub was charged with 119 counts of animal cruelty and failing to provide adequate veterinary care. At the conclusion of the first bench trial 113 cruelty charges were dismissed by the judge, largely because a Department of Agriculture veterinarian who had made unannounced visits to the laboratory had testified that he did not find the conditions depicted by Pacheco. Taub was convicted of six misdemeanor charges of failing to provide adequate veterinary care and fined $3,500. Five of these were dismissed at a second, jury trial and the final charge was set aside by an appellate court, which found that the Maryland's Prevention of Cruelty to Animals law was never intended to apply to researchers.
The National Institutes of Health initiated its own investigation and suspended the remaining funding for Taub's experiments, over $200,000, due to violations of animal care guidelines. After Taub was exonerated by the courts, sixty-seven professional societies made representation on Taub's behalf and the NIH reversed its decision not to fund him.
Work on stroke recovery
In 1987 Taub moved to the University of Alabama-Birmingham, and began to focus on the area of stroke-recovery. Taub sought to investigate the potential for "constraint-based therapy" to help in the recovery of movement in affected limbs. With an impaired arm, for instance, the therapy involves restraining the patient's good arm over a period of intensive therapy on the affected arm. Sharon Begley writes that Taub and his colleagues' work achieved major progress in the area of neuroplasticity, by targeting the conditions in which the brain can adapt and repair itself after an injury.
- Taub, Edward; Perrella, Philip; Barro, Gilbert. "Behavioral Development after Forelimb Deafferentation on Day of Birth in Monkeys with and without Blinding", Science, Vol. 181. no. 4103, September 7, 1973, pp. 959–960.
- Taub, E. (1977). Movement in nonhuman primates deprived of somatosensory feedback. Exercise and sports science reviews, Vol. 4 (pp. 335–374). Santa Barbara: Journal Publishing Affiliates.
- Taub, E. (1980). Somatosensory deafferentation research with monkeys: Implications for rehabilitation medicine. In L. P. Ince (Ed.), Behavioral Psychology in Rehabilitation Medicine: Clinical Applications (pp. 371–401). New York: Williams & Wilkins.
- Taub, E. (1994). Overcoming learned nonuse: A new behavioral medicine approach to physical medicine. In J. G. Carlson, S. R. Seifert, & N. Birbaumer. (eds.) Clinical applied psychophysiology (pp. 185–220). New York: Plenum.
- Taub, E., Burgio, L., Miller, N. E., Cook, E.W. III, Groomes, T., DeLuca, S., & Crago, J. (1994). An operant approach to overcoming learned nonuse after CNS damage in monkeys and man: The role of shaping. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 61, 281-293.
- Taub, E., & Crago, J. E. (1995). Behavioral plasticity following central nervous system damage in monkeys and man. In B.Julesz & I. Kovacs (Eds.), Maturational windows and adult cortical plasticity. SFI Studies in the Sciences of Complexity, vol. 23 (pp. 201–215). Redwood City, CA: Addison-Wesley.
- Taub, E., Pidikiti, R. D., DeLuca, S. C., & Crago, J. E. (1996). Effects of motor restriction of an unimpaired upper extremity and training on improving functional tasks and altering brain/behaviors. In J. Toole (Ed.), Imaging and Neurologic Rehabilitation (pp. 133–154). New York: Demos Publications.
- Taub, E., & Wolf, S.L. (1997). Constraint-Induced (CI) Movement techniques to facilitate upper extremity use in stroke patients. Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation, 3, 38-61.
- Doidge, Norman (2007). The Brain that Changes Itself (Viking), p.136. ISBN 0-670-03830-X
- Doidge, Norman (6 February 2015). "Our Amazingly Plastic Brains" – via www.wsj.com.
- Schwartz and Begley 2002, p. 160; "Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy" Archived 2007-01-03 at the Wayback Machine, excerpted from "A Rehab Revolution," Stroke Connection Magazine, September/October 2004. Also see Doidge 2007, p. 134.
- Tori Deangelis, Going to bat for science, Monitor on Psychology, Volume 38, No. 7 July/August 2007
- Bridget Murray Law, Training the brain to fix itself, Monitor on Psychology, Volume 35, No. 9 October 2004
- Doidge, Norman (2007). The Brain that Changes Itself. Viking. p. 353. ISBN 0-670-03830-X.
- Boffey, Philip M (October 27, 1981). "Animals in the lab: Protests accelerate, but use is dropping". The New York Times.
- Doidge, Norman (2007). The Brain that Changes Itself. Viking. ISBN 0-670-03830-X.