Are the Rats too Scared to Get the Right Research and Dose?

I just had my husband read up a most interesting story from the most recent Economist (May 3rd, 2014)–a  most unlikely source for a scientific article–that came down on me like a rock! And it will on you as well. The title of the article does not tell you what it is about and it sounds silly too–not sure why they gave this title… but cute nonetheless albeit says nothing of the topic. The title is: Sex, writhes and videotape.

So why is this article interesting? It is not about sex and not about video taping animals having sex. Rather it discovered something critical for us to know about. The original research was published in Nature Methods by Jeffrey Mogil of McGill University in Montreal and his colleagues. So why is this article important to us you say?

This article is about how our research on animals has mislead us for years! And we did not know until now. This basically means we need to redo every single research. Why? As it turns out, lab rats fear male experimenters and kick into a “fight-or-flight” mode, initiating diarrhea and other things, one if which is key: less sensitivity to pain! 

If the researchers are women, the rats do not have the same fear, have no panic attacks, do not run for their lives, and their pain sensors remain what it normally would be.

This all sounds great but what is its importance? If you are taking a medication for a headache and the dose of that medicine was established for you based on the research of a male researchers, there is a good chance you will be overdosed! In fact, in recent studies, a couple of sleeping aid pharmaceuticals have already had to make adjustment to dosages since the dose for men represented a 45% overdose for women. But these doses may have still been established by male researchers that would mean that even the men are overdosed and women still also are. We just don’t know.

Based on this discovery of lab rat fear, it is questionable if we really have any medicine in the market today that is safe in dose! Think about its implications! And this is all because lab rats are more scared from men than women. It is both ridiculous and scary! It also teaches us a great lesson: rats can tell who is male and female.. in fact they can tell so from a T-Shirt put close to their cages… There is something about male researchers that intimidates lab rats!

Next time you buy your bottle of pain reliever, look to see if the researcher was male or female…

Any questions and suggestions are welcome!



About Angela A Stanton, Ph.D.

Angela A Stanton, PhD, is a Neuroeconomist focusing on chronic pain, electrolyte homeostasis, and genetics. She lives in Southern California. Her current research is focused on migraine cause, prevention and treatment without the use of medicines. As a forever migraineur from childhood, her discovery was helped by experimenting on herself. She found the cause of migraine to be at the ionic level, associated with disruption of the electrolyte homeostasis, resulting from genetic variations of all voltage gated channels that modulate electrolytes and voltage in the brain, insulin and glucose transporters, and several other related variants, such as the MTHFR variants of the B vitamin methylation process and many others. Migraineurs are glucose sensitive and should avoid eating carbs as much as possible. As a result of the success of the first edition of her book and new research and findings after treating over 4000 migraineurs world wide, all ages and both genders, she is now finishing the 2nd edition. The 2nd edition is the “holy grail” of migraines, incorporating all there is to know and also hypotheses. It includes an academic research section with suggestions for further research. The book is full of citations to authenticate the statements she makes to be followed up by those interested and to spark further research interest. It is a "Complete Guide". Due out in the summer of 2017. Dr. Stanton received her BSc at UCLA in Mathematics, MBA at UCR, MS in Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University, PhD in NeuroEconomics at Claremont Graduate University, and fMRI certification at Harvard University Medical School at the Martinos Center for Neuroimaging for experimenting with neurotransmitters on human volunteers. For relaxation Dr. Stanton paints and photographs. Follow her on Twitter at: @MigraineBook
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19 Responses to Are the Rats too Scared to Get the Right Research and Dose?

  1. Roald Michel says:

    Scare myself? Guess I’m lacking that skill. How does that work?

    No roses here. Maybe in the flower shop?


  2. Roald Michel says:

    Ah, another myth about males debunked. From now on, no woman can tell us we’re like rats, because as it turned out, rats are not afraid of women, while men are. Really great news.

    Liked by 1 person

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