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Male Scent Molecules May Be Compromising Biomedical Research 274

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Scientists have found that mice feel 36% less pain when a male researcher is in the room, versus a female researcher. The rodents are also less stressed out. The effect appears to be due to scent molecules that male mammals (including humans, dogs, and cats) have been emitting for eons. The finding could help explain why some labs have trouble replicating the results of others, and it could cause a reevaluation of decades of animal experiments: everything from the effectiveness of experimental drugs to the ability of monkeys to do math. Male odor could even influence human clinical trials."
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Male Scent Molecules May Be Compromising Biomedical Research

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  • by Shadow of Eternity ( 795165 ) on Monday April 28, 2014 @03:40PM (#46862183)

    "Further testing showed that the rodents exposed to male odors were actually feeling less pain, rather than simply hiding the pain they were in. The male aroma ramped up their stress levels, which deadened the hurt. “It’s really astounding that such a robust effect could have been missed for so many years,” Mogil says."


  • Re:36% less pain (Score:5, Informative)

    by Demonantis ( 1340557 ) on Monday April 28, 2014 @03:57PM (#46862369)
    Pain scales [] in a lab setting are fairly common and rigorous. They mostly use a physical response that can correlated to pain using a complex apparatus. Of course, it is all extremely finicky which is why it took so long for this influencing factor to be detected.
  • by volvox_voxel ( 2752469 ) on Monday April 28, 2014 @04:03PM (#46862405)

    "The Rat Grimace Scale: A partially automated method for quantifying pain in the laboratory rat via facial expressions" []

    Here is another paper where the researches used a patch clamp to interface the spinal cord. (A patch clamp is a very low noise/high gain amplifier that can measure single cell ion channels, etc -- []) []

    I wonder what methods are typically used? Do researchers videorecord grimacing rats? That seems rather tedious and subjective.

  • by Muros ( 1167213 ) on Monday April 28, 2014 @04:09PM (#46862467)

    No more need to wear deodorant. My naturally musky smell will make everyone feel more at ease.

    Unfortunately, the summary is incorrect. The article says the mice are more stressed with males around.

  • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Monday April 28, 2014 @04:53PM (#46862917)

    I found plain old alcohol superior to deodorant in every way.

    Amazing stuff. It strips the built up oils and wax on the hair off and kills the bacteria too.

    I found a lot of deodorants actually made me smell worse when they broke down.

    Only down side is on a hot day- I might have to do this again every six hours. But deodorant doesn't even last six hours on me.

  • Re:36% less pain (Score:4, Informative)

    by kruach aum ( 1934852 ) on Monday April 28, 2014 @05:00PM (#46863015)

    When someone is cut who is merely paralyzed, yes, stress levels can increase, and this is then taken by the anaesthesiologist as a sign of consciousness. []

  • by Jmc23 ( 2353706 ) on Monday April 28, 2014 @08:04PM (#46864301) Journal
    No, it's not. Modal has to do with different modes of learning, weird how it's exactly what it says eh?

    State specific or dependent memory is what you are looking for, which strangely enough has to do with the state of mind you're in.

    Weird how words work like that, eh?

  • by Tuidjy ( 321055 ) on Monday April 28, 2014 @08:38PM (#46864523)

    Your comprehension of this article seems to be very different from mine.

    The smell of males seems to make other mammals feel endangered, and in this state, they feel less pain. This is similar to how people under great stress (for other reasons than being in the presence of He-man) will ignore the pain from even serious injuries.

    Now, if your goal is to make sure people around you are less bothered by pain, sure, share your smell with everyone. But if you would like to keep stress levels around you down, you should suppress your smell. It all depends on what your goal is.

    As for those who 'cannot handle that information', you'd be surprised how often people confused those who cannot handle something, with those who are actually thinking over what they just learned, and considering the implications. There are times where inaction is worse than the the worst action. In the modern world, such situations are few and far between.

"Oh my! An `inflammatory attitude' in alt.flame? Never heard of such a thing..." -- Allen Gwinn, allen@sulaco.Sigma.COM