THE "NOT-SO" NEWS/JBLA: Mice Dying On The Job

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Mice Dying On The Job

In a study recently released in Current Biology by professor's at the University of Virginia, researchers found that mice who worked rotating shifts died at a far quicker pace than those whose job offered them a permanent day or night shift.

Of the 100 mice used for the study, the older ones who were forced to repeatedly change their schedules, were found dead at a more rapid speed than the younger ones.

"Regular hours are just better all around because mice, like humans, sometimes have very tiny brains that are incapable of controlling their everyday actions including getting enough sleep and eating regular healthy meals," one researcher said. "There are no constant adjustments when working a steady day or night job, which in turn leaves their little brains to deal only with the duties of their employment."

The same data also found that mice who constantly crossed international time zones met with the same fate as the shift changers. Researchers cautioned their test subjects to travel lighter and use sleeping aids such as Ambian to counter the effects of sleep deprivation but found that many mice died anyway--the result of choking while trying to swallow the pills.

Although their findings represented many of the study participants who died through natural attrition such as old age, researchers also included data on those who were killed as a result of bad choices in picking routes to their job.

"We found this result especially with the mice who were unable to adapt to the change in shift and did not get enough sleep."

Several mice were found dead, their necks snapped like twigs, after encountering erroneously placed mouse traps shortly after a shift changes. This was attributed to lack of sleep as well plain stupidity.

"They've seen these traps a million times before but because of the change in light or dark, depending on what shift they've just come off of, we found that their eating habits became lackadaisical and they went for the easy route--ala a well stocked trap."

Obesity was also sited for unnatural attrition.

"Mice like cushy jobs, like sitting at a computer all day where their once tiny butt cheeks get bigger and bigger along with their once taut bellies," said a nutritionist working as part of the study team. "We offered them tiny little treadmills so they could get the recommended 30-minutes of exercise but most declined to use them citing that all too often their skinny little tails got caught in the belt causing great bodily harm."

Scientists are now recommending that mice pursue counseling before taking a job. They also recommended that older mice work part time if they wish to extend their life.

2 Comments:

Blogger Dr. A said...

Interesting stuff about the mice. I blogged about this, too.

7:22 PM  
Blogger Kilroy_60 said...

I read where they found the cause of cancer. Saliva swallowed in small amounts over and extended period of time. Ain't science great!?!

5:37 PM  

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