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April 29, 2014
Mice Hate Men
The difficulty of doing good animal studies has come up here many times, such as the recent suggestion that many rodent facilities should adjust their thermostats.
Now comes word of yet another subtle effect that no one has ever controlled for: mice apparently react different to the scent of human males as compared to human females. Specifically, we guys stress them out more, an effect that shows up in assays of pain and inflammation (and likely many others besides). Here's the paper in Nature Methods, and I think that anyone running rodent studies had better sit down and read it at the first opportunity. There could well be a lot of messed-up data out there, and straightening things out will not be a short job.
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