Male Scent Stresses Research Animals,
Scientists’ inability to replicate research findings using mice and rats has contributed to
mounting concern over the reliability of such studies.
Now, an international team of pain researchers led by scientists at McGill University in Montreal, Canada may have uncovered one important factor behind this vexing problem: the gender of the experimenters has a big impact on the stress
levels of rodents, which are widely used in preclinical studies.
In research published in Nature Methods, the scientists report that the presence of male experimenters produced a stress
response in mice and rats equivalent to that caused by restraining the rodents for 15 minutes in a tube or forcing them to
swim for three minutes. This stress-induced reaction made mice and rats of both sexes less sensitive to pain.
Female experimenters produced no such effects.
The research team, which included pain experts from Haverford College and the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and a
chemosensory expert from Université de Montreal, found that the effect of male experimenters on the rodents’ stress levels
was due to smell. This was shown by placing cotton T shirts, worn the previous night by male or female experimenters,
alongside the mice; the effects were identical to those caused by the presence of the experimenters, themselves.
Further experiments proved that the effects were caused by chemosignals, or pheromones, that men secrete from the
armpit at higher concentrations than women. These chemosignals signal to rodents the presence of nearby male animals.
(All mammals share the same chemosignals).
These effects are not limited to pain. The researchers found that other behavioural assays sensitive to stress
were affected by male but not female experimenters or T-shirts. - http://bit.ly/1kMkjJJ
T RAINING TIP:
Ways to Avoid the Training Blahs: Get Creative
In each segment of the ALN audio series of training tips, the editors of ALN Magazine and ALN World offer
a variety of ideas, best practices and information relating to training.
In this tip, “Ways to Avoid the Training Blahs: Get Creative,” we offer ideas to spice up your training
using Powerpoint. - http://bit.ly/1isna7Q
S AFETY TIP:
Health and Safety Basics: Occupational Health
The nature and scope of an occupational health program can vary widely from company to company. Often in animal
care settings one might expect pre-employment health evaluations, periodic medical surveillance, injury protocols (
including first aid and bite/scratch procedures) and maintenance of medical records, and coordination with the departments
when work related health and safety issues arise. One might typically find coordination of respiratory protection and
hearing conservation programs within the Occupational Health component of a program. - http://bit.ly/1tODrKG
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AS FEATURED IN ALN:
Setting the Stage for a Successful Handoff
After the ink has dried on the blueprints and the sounds of drills and saws interrupt otherwise quiet mornings, I imagine
every manager of an animal facility can’t wait for construction to be over. Building research facilities is a very intrusive
process that requires a high level of technical knowledge and disciplined management to be successful. One of the
toughest transitions in delivering any construction project is making the handoff from construction to occupancy. To avoid
frustration and make a smooth transition requires active tracking and management of cost and schedule, formalized
processes for maintaining and assuring quality, and an organized compilation of the information that will be required to
operate and maintain the facility. - http://bit.ly/1njoe Th