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 Be Healthy

Angela A Stanton, PhD, is a Neuroeconomist who evaluates changes in behavior, chronic pain, decision-making, as a result of hormonal variations in the brain. She lives in Southern California. Her current research is focused on migraine cause, prevention and treatment without the use of medicines. As a migraineur, 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 mutations of insulin and glucose transporters, and voltage gated sodium and calcium channel mutations. Such mutations cause major shifts in a migraine brain, unlike that of a non-migraine brain. A non-migraineur can handle electrolyte changes on autopilot. A migraineur must always be on manual guard for such changes to maintain electrolyte homeostasis. The book Fighting The Migraine Epidemic: How To Treat and Prevent Migraines Without Medicines - An Insider's View explains why we have migraines, how to prevent them and how to stay migraine (and medicine) free for life. As a result of the success of the first edition of her book and new research and findings, she is now finishing the 2nd edition. The 2nd edition is the “holy grail” of migraines, incorporating all there is to know at the moment and also some 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. While working on the 2nd edition of the book she also published academic articles: "Migraine Cause and Treatment" Mental Health in family Medicine, November 23, 2015, open access "Functional Prodrome in Migraines" Journal of Neurological Disorders, January 22, 2016, open access "Are Statistics Misleading Sodium Reduction Benefits?", Journal of Medical Diagnostic Method, February 3, 2016, open access “A Comment on Severe Headache or Migraine History Is Inversely Correlated With Dietary Sodium Intake: NHANES 1999-2004” Angela A Stanton PhD, 19 July 2016 DOI: 10.1111/head.12861 not open access, subscription is required to read it. 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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