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Mice smell, share each other's pain

Olfactory signal suspected as way hurt sensitivity is transmitted mouse-to-mouse

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2:00pm, October 19, 2016
lab mice

OVERSHARING  Odor cues from mice in pain can make roommates more sensitive to pain themselves, a new study suggests.

Pain is contagious, at least for mice. After encountering bedding where mice in pain had slept, other mice became more sensitive to pain themselves. The experiment, described online October 19 in Science Advances, shows that pain can move from one animal to another — no injury or illness required.  

The results “add to a growing body of research showing that animals communicate distress and are affected by the distress of others,” says neuroscientist Inbal Ben-Ami Bartal of the University of California, Berkeley.

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