Like humans

Canadian scientists put mice in pain, watch their faces.

A new “mouse grimace scale” will make it easier for researchers to assess the pain-control benefits of new drugs in lab animals, says Jeff Mogil, a pain researcher at McGill University in Montreal.

In the past, scientists have assessed pain in lab mice by how often an animal licked a sore paw, or by making other observations about the animal’s behaviour. Dr. Mogil’s research measured the experience of pain based on the rodent’s facial expressions: They squeeze their eyes, scrunch up their noses and push out their cheeks, much like humans do.

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