RePAIR: a power solution to animal experimentation – Valeria Bonapersona
The past years have witnessed an increasing awareness that many animal studies are heavily underpowered. Based on a systematic search involving over 1200 articles, we estimated that at best only 12% of animal experiments are sufficiently powered. This poses a serious problem, challenging the reliability of animal models. One could increase the number of animals per study but this raises important ethical and practical issues. We present an alternative solution, RePAIR, a statistical method using information from previous experiments on the same experimental endpoint. We first show, in a simulation study, that RePAIR can increase the power by up to 100% or decrease the total sample size required by 49%. We prove the added value of RePAIR in a unique dataset created by the collaboration of several laboratories around the world, on cognitive effects of early life adversity. RePAIR can be widely used to improve quality of animal experimentation and comes with an open-source web-based tool for this purpose.