We all know pain. We feel it. We see it. And mice can smell it.
According to a recent study in Science, mice near other mice in pain developed a 68 percent higher sensitivity to pain. The mice in pain let off a particular scent that stressed their roommates and the scientists recorded their empathetic response through chemical, thermal, and mechanical tests. With this knowledge, scientists can develop new theories on how humans sense pain.
In one room the scientists placed caged mice going through withdrawals from alcohol or opioid drugs near caged non-suffering mice. The researchers tried to measure the addicted mouse’s capacity for pain by brushing their paws with hair and submerging its tail in hot water.