Jan 28, 2008

Cold-blooded and Pain Free

As if we didn't already have plenty of reasons to admire the naked mole-rat (unique in so many ways among mammals), we have a few more.

As revealed in an article in Live Science, researchers have determined that naked mole-rats, though very sensitive to touch, are impervious to pain caused by acid or burning. They performed a test, consisting of injecting one paw with what equates to lemon juice and a bit of chili pepper extract (mmm, lemon and pepper...). But the creatures show no response, which makes them unique among mammals. This has significance to us humans, who may benefit from the findings in aiding us in treating chronic pain.

Also, did you know that naked mole-rats are the only cold-blooded mammal (aside from some people I know) on the planet? There is so much more to this little beast than meets the eye (which is quite a jarring experience the first time around).

Thanks for the link, Martha. I love it when uglies (not of the celebrity ilk) make headlines.

5 comments:

booge said...

They're so gross and larval. I love them! LOVE.

Kritter said...

Hideous, yet fascinating. They have a colony at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs and they're really fun to watch.

Wendy said...

I'm kinda stuck on injecting poor animals with spicy acid... Who comes UP with these experiments, and did they inject themselves first to find out just how bad it was? I am forced to conclude that Thomas Park of UIC is a big jerk.

BillyWitchDoctor said...

What, no Kim Possible references? Really?

Wendy: the linked article describes basically a pin-prick with a speck of the lemon juice/chili pepper mix. They also subjected them to a single exposure to a weakened virus to see how they reacted to cold sores, to explore pain relief for people (and other animals, I should hope). We all know there's harsher (and less valuable) testing done on animals...

Also, check out the documentary Fast, Cheap, And Out Of Control for lots of naked mole rat footage and info!

Kathleen said...

I didn't know they were cold blooded. cool. but I suppose being warm blooded is less important inside their little colonies. except to the ones who get sent off to form new ones, but those ones are usually morphologically different, aren't they? *shrugs*