Behavioural effects of mouse tears

15 02 2020

Hmm, it seems that murine tears are useful after all!

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“Ellis was stillborn at 10pm and I was in work at eight o’clock the next day.”

15 02 2020

The UK has just introduced a new law (“Jacks’ Law“): any working parent whose child dies is now entitled to two weeks leave. For a stressor whose lasting effects on bereaved parents can include depression, poor health, and even shortened lifespans, this doesn’t seem like much. But it’s a major, major advance on the pitiful nothing there was before.





Cat “pain faces” study on Quirks and Quarks

3 02 2020

– features Paulo Steagall on a new Uni. of Montreal paper in Scientific Reports. This important work builds very nicely on the Glasgow Pain Scale.  Next, I really hope one of the teams will throw in other negative affective states too, to assess how specific to pain per se some of these changes truly are.

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How stress can give you grey hairs

25 01 2020

Nice coverage of a new Nature paper here from the BBC:

(We did look for greying in our middle aged differentially housed mice but no differences, sadly; we think they weren’t yet old enough)

How to be happy in 2020

18 01 2020

Many of the usual recommendations in a single article (though I’m not sure I’m convinced about furniture with corners!):

Sam makes my morning…

15 01 2020

… with a cheerful update from DC and awesome news of a gorgeous bobcat sighting by his new employers, “DC Cat Count”:



Charitable parrots

13 01 2020

First there were empathic rats, and now it’s charitable African greys who’ll pass each other tokens that can be exchanged for walnuts. (But blue macaws are not so nice however: rather more chimp-like apparently).

There’s a nice write up here, and the original Current Biology paper can be found here — neither of which I’ve yet read to find out why the authors used tokens and not walnuts themselves. But maybe tokens reduce impulsivity, the way numerals did in Sally Boysen’s classic pointing task?

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