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Male Scent Molecules May Be Compromising Biomedical Research

samzenpus posted about 6 months ago | from the something-doesn't-smell-right dept.

Biotech 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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274 comments

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Also, this means... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46861999)

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

interesting how so many (-1, Flamebait)

rewindustry (3401253) | about 6 months ago | (#46862297)

seem to feel threatened by this information.

plastic footed metal beetle space bugs, smell of laboratories, and live on soap.

is good to be human, in the information age, and i do hope these strange offspring of the petrochemical age die off soon..

yes, this is flame bait, however i am making the point that it is also further evidence that we have a problem, and this is news that matters, however many cannot handle that information.

Re:interesting how so many (4, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 6 months ago | (#46862679)

The labs have to stop using gay rats.

Re:Also, this means... (5, Informative)

Muros (1167213) | about 6 months ago | (#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.

Re:Also, this means... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862557)

No, your reading comprehension sucks and the summary is correct. From the end of the fourth paragraph in the fucking article (emphasis mine):

The rodents showed significantly fewer signs of pain (an average of a 36% lower score on the grimace scale) when a male researcher was in the room than when a female researcher—or no researcher at all—was there.

Re:Also, this means... (2)

Muros (1167213) | about 6 months ago | (#46862613)

No, your reading comprehension sucks and the summary is correct. From the end of the fourth paragraph in the fucking article (emphasis mine):

The rodents showed significantly fewer signs of pain (an average of a 36% lower score on the grimace scale) when a male researcher was in the room than when a female researcher—or no researcher at all—was there.

Read as far as the sixth paragraph.

Re:Also, this means... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862641)

No, you misread yourself! Stress, not pain.

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.

Re:Also, this means... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862579)

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.

-1 wrong:

The rodents showed significantly fewer signs of pain (an average of a 36% lower score on the grimace scale) when a male researcher was in the room than when a female researcher—or no researcher at all—was there.

Wrong on stress, right on pain... (1)

denzacar (181829) | about 6 months ago | (#46862655)

Either way, we make mice feel nice.

Re:Also, this means... (4, Informative)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 6 months ago | (#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.

Scent molecules? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862005)

Shower more, filthy nerds :D

Molecules shmolecules (5, Insightful)

chinton (151403) | about 6 months ago | (#46862023)

Maybe the male scientists need to shower more often...

Re:Molecules shmolecules (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862693)

I dunno man, if it increases pain tolerance, we might want dudes to shower less often in some fields...

Captain Obvoius (5, Funny)

coinreturn (617535) | about 6 months ago | (#46862029)

Women are intimidating and cause stress. Film at 11.

Re:Captain Obvoius (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862091)

If by "imtimidating" you meant "sexy", and by "stress" you meant "erections", I'm right there with you, buddy.

Re:Captain Obvoius (1, Offtopic)

wile_e_wonka (934864) | about 6 months ago | (#46862279)

If by "imtimidating" you meant "sexy", and by "stress" you meant "erections", I'm right there with you, buddy.

This only applies to a small percentage of women.

Women are intimidating and cause stress.

This applies to approximately 100% of women (including the subset of sexy women), so, no, coinreturn [slashdot.org] had it right.

Re:Captain Obvoius (4, Funny)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about 6 months ago | (#46862633)

I think you grossly underestimate how low the standards of many men actually are. The requirements are pretty much just a pulse, and even that has some wiggle room.

Re:Captain Obvoius (1, Interesting)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 6 months ago | (#46862759)

I think you grossly underestimate how low the standards of many men actually are. The requirements are pretty much just a pulse, and even that has some wiggle room.

A theory easily verified by a trip to your local Wal-Mart.

Re:Captain Obvoius (-1, Flamebait)

Nephandus (2953269) | about 6 months ago | (#46862341)

Well, knowing you're at a socially mandated disadvantage by their presence, and any one could go psycho-bitch to various degrees of impunity leaving you with no safe recourse. I'm built and mean looking (thanks to Hollywood's image indoctrination and my facial structure). Men generally don't start shit with me, though they'll often whisper "serial-killer" when I first walk, stand, or sit in their vicinity. Women outright target me. They get in my face and call me creepy, while clearly expecting me to leave her holy presence dutifully shamed. Hell, the older fatter ones get rapey up to what would be legally punishable sexual assault, were it gender reversed. No one cares. That's pretty intimidating. Ironically, generally worse than cops, and they're postured at me in pack and grabbed guns while glaring at me walk down a sidewalk or out of college's main exit.

Re:Captain Obvoius (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862605)

Have you considered it's your clothing, hairstyle, lack of glasses, and facial hair that are giving these impressions to people?

Put these on: http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/dam/assets/140128102959-lok-segall-new-google-glass-frames-00000501-story-top.jpg
Stop shopping here: http://www.hottopic.com/hottopic/Homepage.jsp
Start shopping here: http://www.ae.com/web/index.jsp
Grow one of these: http://www.ftmguide.org/images/soulpatch.gif
Put one of these under your arm: store.apple.com/macbook-air
Or carry one of these in a felt case: https://www.apple.com/ipad-air/

Worst case: shave the mustache and show teeth when you smile(even if you think you have bad teeth)
http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=spot_the_pedo

I guarantee no one gives those reactions to SF valley hipster douche-bags regardless of their facial expressions. Even if they are built like a tank.

Re:Captain Obvoius (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862533)

If by "imtimidating" you meant "sexy", and by "stress" you meant "erections", I'm right there with you, buddy.

Get married. See how long that lasts. Buddy.

Re:Captain Obvoius (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862957)

Don't call me buddy, pal.

Re:Captain Obvoius (1)

tylikcat (1578365) | about 6 months ago | (#46862529)

...though in fact, it's men that do. (The summary is wrong.)

36% less pain (4, Interesting)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 6 months ago | (#46862037)

What does a percent of lessened pain feel like? I can't even tell whether my throat hurts half as bad as it did yesterday or a fourth as bad, and that's from a first person perspective, the only perspective from which you actually have access to pain sensations.

I should also note that I'm not a mouse.

Re:36% less pain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862159)

... the only perspective from which you actually have access to conscious pain sensations.

FTFY

Re:36% less pain (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 6 months ago | (#46862329)

Sensations are always conscious. The concept of an unconscious sensation doesn't make sense, and would make anaesthesia torture rather than relief.

Re:36% less pain (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 6 months ago | (#46862409)

We actually have very little data to confirm or dismiss whether humans feel pain while unconscious. Did you mean subconscious?

Re:36% less pain (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 6 months ago | (#46862481)

We actually have very little data to confirm or dismiss whether humans feel pain while unconscious. Did you mean subconscious?

Ask yourself this: Who is feeling things?
Then define what constitutes that "who", how it physically manifests, etc.
THEN you can begin to work out whether a given "who" feels something at a given time.

Re:36% less pain (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 6 months ago | (#46862519)

We actually have a lot of data that confirms that humans don't feel pain while they are unconscious: the reaction you get from cutting them with a scalpel. If you cut someone who is conscious, their stress level increases, they pull away from the source of pain, they report the sensation of being in pain, and they react in various other manners. When you cut someone who is unconscious, their stress level does not increase (heart rate etc.), they don't pull away from the source of pain, they don't report pain sensations, etc., all of which confirms that unconscious people don't feel pain. The only thing that I can think of that is the same whether you are conscious or unconscious when you are being cut is the firing of nociceptors in the affected area, but just nerves sending signals taken by itself doesn't really tell you anything.

Re:36% less pain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862769)

Stress levels absolutely can increase when you cut somebody who is merely unconscious. Anesthesiologists uses multiple different drugs during surgery--one to make you unconscious so you don't remember the procedure, another to block the pain, etc. Pain is a multi-faceted and complex subject; it most certainly does not simply turn on consciousness.

Re:36% less pain (1)

mikael (484) | about 6 months ago | (#46862915)

There are some people who had the muscle relaxant part of the anaesthetic, but not enough of the gas that makes them go unconscious. Then they very definitely could feel pain.

Re:36% less pain (3, Informative)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 6 months ago | (#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. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A... [wikipedia.org]

Re:36% less pain (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 6 months ago | (#46862639)

Are you telling me you never felt real pain while dreaming? My first experience was when I was 4-5 years old, and I dreamed that I kept falling into a river of tomato soup. When I fell in, there was an intense stabbing pain in my gut. Eventually I woke up to having diarrhea. I had a stomach bug for a couple of days that I felt the symptoms of when I was unconscious. Another dream much later in life, someone stabbed me in my foot. Apparently, I had kicked the post on my bed (as per my wife) and had a nice bruise in the morning to show for it.

Re:36% less pain (1)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 6 months ago | (#46862765)

First, yes, I have never felt pain while dreaming. Second, I think when you're dreaming you're neither conscious nor unconscious, but exhibit aspects of both. Dreaming is different from being wide awake, but it's also different from being under anaesthesia. Meditative states and altered states of consciousness brought about by hallucinogens or psychosis are similarly difficult to place firmly in either category. Maybe it would help to see dreaming as "being in a certain mental state while you are asleep" that we know as something else if it occurs while we are awake.

pain in your dreams (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 6 months ago | (#46862825)

I've never felt pain while dreaming. that sounds like a weird experience!

Re:36% less pain (-1, Flamebait)

alen (225700) | about 6 months ago | (#46862195)

in the army we used to laugh at people who complained of not feeling well or pain

"my pu55y hurts"

Re:36% less pain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862317)

...as they clutch their chest and fall over dead...
yeah, I guess that guy really was hurting. oh well.

Re:36% less pain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862359)

Which is why I am fighting the VA now as too many mental broke dicks thought I was faking when I got hurt and now have permanent spinal damage from a popped disc that has been sitting on a nerve for the past 2 years that actually causes problems to the toes and has the right foot go limp at times that the neurosurgeon says there is nothing they can do now.

Ended up with an Uncharacterized discharge they are now having to change to medical from an injury in combatives class where I came down on one knee too hard. Too bad I am on next to no income for over a year while they tried to avoid checking and continue to do so till they finish.

Have to love them lowest bidder Army doctors, care more about patient count than patient care which is why I found on my paperwork where my sick hall doctor would ask me questions and if he didn't like them he ignored them and made up his own for the paperwork, guessing to cover his own ass.

Re:36% less pain (1)

ClownPenis (1315157) | about 6 months ago | (#46862805)

Where the $*#& did this comment thread get derailed? Where did my mod points go?

Re:36% less pain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862937)

"Knew a chap like that in the army. Said he couldn't take it any more, jumped out of the plane without a parachute. Never saw him again. Funny sort of fellow."

Re:36% less pain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862281)

It means they shifted the mean of their response variable. It is not about what an individual but about the mean of the variable they are measuring.

Re:36% less pain (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 6 months ago | (#46862349)

You're not quantifying your reactions to pain. If someone kept track of how often you said "Ouch, my throat" or grimmaced while swallowing, you could probably get an idea. It would be a proxy measure at best, maybe you were just used to it and it hurt the same amount. But one needs to quantify something in order to know if it's working.

Animal studies are usually pretty messy even if you're not measuring behavior. Everyone who works with animals knows this. It's also more expensive. If you're testing a hypothesis and have the choice of testing it on some cells in a dish with an assay that turns from blue to white, or you could do an experiment on whether mice are in pain, only an insane researcher would choose the mice. So the only times people do things like try to tell if mice are in more or less pain are when there's no other option. And in those cases, one must make up a metric and do analysis that leads to odd things like "36% less pain."

It would be more accurate to say there was a 36% less reaction to pain, though. Otherwise, it sounds like they're pretending they can directly measure pain.

Re:36% less pain (4, Informative)

Demonantis (1340557) | about 6 months ago | (#46862369)

Pain scales [wikipedia.org] 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.

Re:36% less pain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862509)

I believe your link is only for patients [wikipedia.org] and doesn't mention any 'complex apparatus'.

shh.. you smell something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862041)

Well that stinks!

Social Implications (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862047)

Does this suggest that female presence in a work place could reduce overall productivity and increase stress based on purely biological factors?

Re:Social Implications (1)

tylikcat (1578365) | about 6 months ago | (#46862539)

Well, no, it suggests that a male one might well. (The summary is incorrect.)

Depends on the male? (2)

drainbramage (588291) | about 6 months ago | (#46862049)

How do those little rodents feel when Richard Gere walks into the room?
Remember what the brown gerbil said to the white gerbil?
"You're new around here, aren't you."

Re:Depends on the male? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862133)

They would feel, like singing!

Like picking flowers and quilting elegant blanket type things that just stupidly hang on walls.

And they would suddenly be able to coordinate colors with scientific precision and have an uncanny knack for knowing just exactly what they should wear at the next vivisection.

Written by a Woman? (-1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 6 months ago | (#46862053)

That's a very gender biased writeup.

"Male odor"?

The point is that males and females have consistently different odors in some way leading to a systematically different response by lab rats. You could just as well say it is the female odor that is breaking things. In reality it is a difference in response to different stimulus.
 

Re:Written by a Woman? (4, Interesting)

Zironic (1112127) | about 6 months ago | (#46862067)

They controlled against no person present which had the same effect as female which means that it was the male odor that was the cause.

They also tested with scents from various male and female animals and the male scents still had the same effect.

Re:Written by a Woman? (-1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 6 months ago | (#46862275)

They controlled for the thing they thought of. This is how bad epidemiology starts.

Re:Written by a Woman? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862685)

Bzzt. Oh, so sorry. The correct response was "Wow, I was a total dumbass for not reading the article. My idiotic knee-jerk rejection of this study based on the first stupid thought to cross my mind was completely wrong. I apologize for being a know-nothing smart-ass and promise not to do it again." Better luck next time!

Re:Written by a Woman? (4, Insightful)

jcochran (309950) | about 6 months ago | (#46862109)

Did you bother to actually read the article?

The results were quite simple. No odor, or just female odor = 1 result. Male odor = another result.

Simple logic would then equate female odor = no effect (simply because the female odor had the same effect as no odor at all).
So therefore, the male odor was causing a change in the results of the experiment.

Re:Written by a Woman? (4, Interesting)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 6 months ago | (#46862303)

The most interesting thing in the experiment was that male odor + female odor cancelled out the male odor effect.

Apparently (as stated in TFA), UNACCOMPANIED male odor caused the mice to not be willing to show pain, but a strange male in company with a strange female didn't cause the mice to go all macho all of a sudden.

So, I wonder if male mice with female mice will show different effects than male mice alone?

Re:Written by a Woman? (1)

tylikcat (1578365) | about 6 months ago | (#46862551)

There already is body of research about various hormonal reactions in mice that are sex specific. So, likely, yes.

Re:Written by a Woman? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862171)

Is this where "malodorous" came from?

So gender is a just a construct... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862085)

Now we just have to figure out how to stop imposing our gender norms on dog's pain receptors.

Re:So gender is a just a construct... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862129)

Agreed! Clearly these animals are all sexist pigs (ESPECIALLY the pigs!).

Aha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862089)

I knew there was a reason I was always resistant to bathing.

Why Male? (2)

alta (1263) | about 6 months ago | (#46862095)

Maybe the males are all neutral and the women are just nagging the animals to perform and causing too much stress!?

Re:Why Male? (4, Funny)

camperdave (969942) | about 6 months ago | (#46862301)

I suspect that the animals *expect* to be tortured when males are around, so they steel themselves against it and thus feel pain less. However, when females are administering the pain, it is unexpected, and thus more intense.

Maybe mice can sense affirmative action? (1)

glrotate (300695) | about 6 months ago | (#46862097)

I know female doctors make me nervous.

Showing pain, not feeling pain (0)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 6 months ago | (#46862119)

Animals know that if they show weakness in front of a predator, the predator attacks.

Same thing happens in the school yard - "No I ain' t crying, I just got some dust in my eye".

This is a psychological trick to avoid showing pain, not a biochemical trick to reduce pain.

Re:Showing pain, not feeling pain (5, Informative)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | about 6 months ago | (#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."

RTFA.

Re:Showing pain, not feeling pain (0, Troll)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 6 months ago | (#46862257)

I read it. No results, just claims. Unsupported by facts. There is no such thing as a pain detection device. If such a thing existed, it would be used in lawsuits over soft tissue damage (i.e. whiplash or any other pain & suffering legal cases).

Idiots measured a couple of hormone levels, declared them 'stress hormones', then declared that pain and stress were equivalent, then declared themselves the winner.

Not real science, just journalistic claptrap designed to sell web clicks.

Re:Showing pain, not feeling pain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862423)

I read it. No results, just claims. Unsupported by facts. There is no such thing as a pain detection device. If such a thing existed, it would be used in lawsuits over soft tissue damage (i.e. whiplash or any other pain & suffering legal cases).

Idiots measured a couple of hormone levels, declared them 'stress hormones', then declared that pain and stress were equivalent, then declared themselves the winner.

Not real science, just journalistic claptrap designed to sell web clicks.

Perhaps you go read the journal article at Nature Methods.
Lots of evidence, very significant results.
This is REAL science and you don't have a clue what you are talking about.

Re:Showing pain, not feeling pain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862267)

Cut the GP a little slack - scientists missed it how many times over the years? GP only missed it however many times he read the article.

Re:Showing pain, not feeling pain (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862373)

"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."

RTFA.

Clearly, it's natural selection via sexism. Science is mostly a male dominated field and, after a century or more of being used for experiments, these carefully managed strains of rodents now have genetically coded instincts that detect the scent of (male) human scientists as they do the scent of other predators.

(Laugh, it's funny.)

Re:Showing pain, not feeling pain (1)

tylikcat (1578365) | about 6 months ago | (#46862577)

Actually, I am laughing.

(Biomed, by the way, is one of the fields with great gender parity, but since previous generations - at least of mice - are in question, your point holds.)

Re:Showing pain, not feeling pain (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 6 months ago | (#46862385)

That's not directly contradicting what he said though: unless researchers are directly patch-clamping the pain nerves in the mouse feet while doing this and showing there are fewer pain signals from the same injury, one can't say for sure they're feeling less pain as opposed to simply hiding it. The stress might be working at the paw, or it might be working in the brain.

Re:Showing pain, not feeling pain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862235)

Indeed. What could biochemistry have to do with psychology. It's preposterous.

Re:Showing pain, not feeling pain (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862239)

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 article then continues to support your reason for less pain response. That the potential presence of a lone male predator is a threat and it is not safe spending excess time responding to minor injuries.
Also, the line right after the above quote indicates that the summary has it backward (as surprise to no one) about the part of test-rats getting stressed.

The male aroma ramped up their stress levels, which deadened the hurt.

This also indicates that lions figured out how to cheat the system.
Male: "Every one of those tasty herbivores gets so flighty when I get close."
Female: "Well, you're also scaring off the hyenas and other critters we don't want near the cubs. You stay here and act scary, I'll go get some dinner."

Re:Showing pain, not feeling pain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862985)

That discussion between a lion couple at the end needs to be an XKCD. :D

Re:Showing pain, not feeling pain (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 6 months ago | (#46862429)

Because there aren't female predators?

Re:Showing pain, not feeling pain (1)

Shadow99_1 (86250) | about 6 months ago | (#46862683)

lioness hunt almost exclusively. Their are plenty of other examples besides that, but it was the first one to come to mind.

Re:Showing pain, not feeling pain (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 6 months ago | (#46862691)

You didn't know my last boss.

Re:Showing pain, not feeling pain (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about 6 months ago | (#46862741)

Lionesses?

Re:Showing pain, not feeling pain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862449)

Often enough, females of a species are the predator.

Actually MORE stressed. (5, Interesting)

WoOS (28173) | about 6 months ago | (#46862165)

The summary writes:
The rodents are also less stressed out.

The article writes:
The male aroma ramped up their stress levels, which deadened the hurt.

Was this the daily "Find the inconsistency" test on slashdot? Did I win something?

Re:Actually MORE stressed. (5, Funny)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | about 6 months ago | (#46862269)

Congratulations! You win another year of editors who don't edit!

Statistical significance (1)

sugarmotor (621907) | about 6 months ago | (#46862175)

Can't find the article available for online reading, beyond http://www.nature.com/nmeth/jo... [nature.com]

But one wonders about the sample size and the statistical significance of the experiments.

hiring policies - (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862211)

Does this mean that it is ok to require that all lab assistants be female?

Re:hiring policies - (2)

denzacar (181829) | about 6 months ago | (#46862821)

About as much as requiring that all veterinarians and their staff are male - cause we are basically walking painkiller for mammals.
Which includes humans, so just on the off chance that it does work...

But don't worry... From TFA:
"Placing a womanâ(TM)s T-shirt next to a manâ(TM)s T-shirt negated the impact."

Aaaand it just occurred to me that the negating effect of female smells is NOT the argument against "all male" animal or human clinics and hiring policies.
Damn. Hope that does not become a trend.

Is foregoing feeling 36% less pain really that big of price to pay to have sexy nurses and doctors?
And by sexy I mean women.

Not being sexist. Just being human male, hetero and honest.

Animal torturers... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862277)

... but it's okay, because it's 'science', right?

Oh, wait... I forgot... I'm talking to the Slashdot sociopaths... children in adult bodies, who can't feel the suffering of others... must be really difficult, having to go through your entire lives never knowing love, and always having to PRETEND to give a toss about what others are going through...

Well obviously... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862291)

This means that men treat the mice better than the women and they can feel that.

Motives (1)

Jim Sadler (3430529) | about 6 months ago | (#46862327)

I could easily believe that male hormones cause nearby animals to be more prepared to defend themselves and thus pain relief follows as an aid to flight or fight enhancements in the animal. This also demonstrates why variables should never exist in any scientific experiment and just how subtle a variable may be. The financial losses from decades of spoiled research could be considerable.

Now it starts! Ob: H2G2 (2)

FreshnFurter (599451) | about 6 months ago | (#46862331)

"These creatures you call mice, you see, they are not quite as they appear. They are merely the protrusion into our dimension of vastly hyperintelligent pandimensional beings."

Do YOU feel manipulated?

Signed: A male (smelly) scientist

Quantifying pain in mice (5, Informative)

volvox_voxel (2752469) | about 6 months ago | (#46862405)

"The Rat Grimace Scale: A partially automated method for quantifying pain in the laboratory rat via facial expressions" http://www.molecularpain.com/c... [molecularpain.com]

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 -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P... [wikipedia.org] )

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu... [nih.gov]

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

Only compromised if you're doing bad science (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 6 months ago | (#46862419)

This may be affecting experiments, but if you're designing your experiments correctly, it won't change your results. The "male in the room" effect should affect all animals the same.

You have a control set and a variable set of mice. The animal handlers should be the same for both, and they shouldn't know if at all possible which is which. Males on the staff will stress out the mice, okay, but they'll stress out both control and variable mice the same. Having a female undergrad handle the control cages and a male undergrad handle the variable mice you're using to try to prove your drug makes them hurt less is going to skew your results independent of gender scents.

Re:Only compromised if you're doing bad science (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862785)

No, if I try to reproduce your study, but your lab had a male animal handler and mine didn't, I may get different results.
"Presence of male human" was not previously thought to be something that had to be controlled for.

Yes it will. Your 9 becomes a 6 with males there. (1)

denzacar (181829) | about 6 months ago | (#46862955)

Not in the cases where you measure LEVELS of sensitivity to pain in some way.
Which basically includes every endurance or stress test.

They are "zeroed out" to a higher level.

Now your mice endure longer or don't start reacting as soon as they should have. So all your results are off by a third.
On top of that, someone tries to repeat your experiment - and their mice react differently.
There goes the peer review.

And that's just the pain. What else is influenced by inducing more stress?

Laugh (2)

koan (80826) | about 6 months ago | (#46862575)

Is this why females are more irritating in general?

Quantum Uncertainty (4, Funny)

DarthVain (724186) | about 6 months ago | (#46862715)

Rats react to women the same as if their was no observer?
Maybe we should she if women can observe things without changing states!

This would explain a lot of male confusion when women say two diametrically opposed things in the same sentence... They can just observe more quantum states than we can and can't understand why we cannot. :)

Two ways to look at it (1)

Chewbacon (797801) | about 6 months ago | (#46862743)

What's the baseline stress level? It would answer the question: do men cause 33% more stress or do women aleviate 33% stress? And I call bullshit on it anyway because I can tell you who stresses me out the most in order: my mom, my grandma, my sisters and my wife.

Male odor could explain a lot (1)

rbrander (73222) | about 6 months ago | (#46862751)

...like why women don't enter scientific fields...

Re:Male odor could explain a lot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46863005)

Or men's locker rooms.

Easy explaination (2)

PPH (736903) | about 6 months ago | (#46862781)

It's the drill instructor or coach attitude that they pick up.

"Come on, mouse! Play through the pain! Gimme twenty more pushups!"

TIL... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46862885)

...mice are sexist.

looool (2)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 6 months ago | (#46862997)

"The rodents are also less stressed out"
And so are the male scientists, depending on what time of the month it is.
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