Monday, March 14, 2005
How Many Lab Mice Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb?
WHAT THE HECK, MRS. LINKLATER DECIDES TO POST TWO OLD ENTRIES IN ONE DAY. BECAUSE YOU CAN'T STOP HER.
Today's answer: How do you mean affection?. Today's question: Do you feel affection for lab mice?
There was something in an old issue of Science News that caught my eye. It wasn't a long article, just a summary of a recent study of brain injuries in lab mice, the animal equivalent of No. 2 pencils in the world of important scientific discovery.
Anyway, Mrs. Linklater remembers the underlying premise was as simple as what happens in the brain of a lab mouse (which corresponds to the eraser end of a No. 2 pencil) after it has received a blow to the head.
Mrs. Linklater feels it necessary to note that this blow to the head would not be hard enough to kill the mouse. On the contrary, there would be just enough force to inflict severe trauma, you will be relieved to know.
No doubt, the scientists were provided with a top of the line set of stainless steel German tools to calibrate where severe trauma ends and death begins. Unlike other experiments, where mice are expendable -- that No. 2 pencil analogy comes to mind again -- the goal in this thoughtful study was for the mice to survive. Granted no details were provided to explain their quality of life afterward, but is that really the point?
Like anyone who has ever contemplated a severe blow to the head under any circumstances, scientific or not, Mrs. Linklater is grateful that there are mice who are willing to step up to the plate for us humans. She feels strongly that we ought to breathe a collective sigh of relief that the scientists were not recruiting human volunteers for this project.
Because, frankly she's not too sure she would do the same for a mouse.