Lab Notes

Short stories and links shared by the scientists in our community

Next time you see a splashy science story, think: was that study done in humans or mice?

Shared by

Carina Seah

Stem Cell Biology

University of Southern California

"Exercising at night will give you better results", a New York Post headline reads, a dubious extrapolation of an experiment in mice. But on Twitter, one account makes the context clear in only two words: IN MICE.

I just stumbled upon the account @justsaysinmice and it has already become my favorite account on Twitter. 

Mouse studies are incredibly useful to test scientific hypotheses in whole mammals, but it is no secret that many findings in mice do not translate to results in humans. Suggesting that they do is not only a perversion of the scientists' own claims, but is also irresponsible to the public. And this, as the creator of @justsaysinmice, James Heathers, notes in an illuminating Medium post explaining the philosophy behind the tweets, is what leads to public erosion of trust in scientific breakthroughs. 

Lack of trust in science is at the very heart of climate change denial and the anti-vaccine crusade, so Heathers is mitigating this one headline at a time by discerning when a study was done in mice. And I, for one, think it makes a big difference.