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Health Research and Mice

Take Home Points Health Research and Mice:
  1. Research studies analyzing mice is important for preliminary research, but they are not miniature humans. 
  2. Before extrapolations to humans are made, studies must find all the differences between humans and mice (unlikely), study closer ancestors to humans (chimpanzees, unlikely due to social acceptance), or study humans!
Mice are often used in physical fitness, disease, physical therapy, weight loss and other forms of research which is extrapolated to humans. Using mice is a necessary step for research, as it is much cheaper than analyzing humans.

Unfortunately, mice are not miniature humans and much of the results on mice is not transferable to humans. Recently, a study found mice appear more resistant to inflammation and infection compared to humans (Seok 2013). These results indicate studies looking at infection or inflammation (which has been correlated with many diseases) are not transferable. 

Specifically, metabolic health is becoming more synonymous with inflammatory status. A recent study by Phillips (2013) looked at obese and nonobese people and concluded “inflammatory status is positively associated with metabolic health in obese and nonobese individuals”. 

Health Research and Mice Conclusion

Once again, mice are cute, furry creatures which play a vital stepping stone in research. Unfortunately, extrapolating information from mice is hazardous. Our research takes us only so far, common sense and anecdotal experience often must bridge the gap between science and reality.


  1. Phillips CM, Perry IJ.Does inflammation determine metabolic health status in obese and nonobese adults?J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Oct;98(10):E1610-9. doi: 10.1210/jc.2013-2038. Epub 2013 Aug 26. 
  2. Seok J, Warren HS, Cuenca AG, Mindrinos MN, Baker HV, Xu W, Richards DR, McDonald-Smith GP, Gao H, Hennessy L, Finnerty CC, López CM, Honari S, Moore EE, Minei JP, Cuschieri J, Bankey PE, Johnson JL, Sperry J, Nathens AB, Billiar TR, West MA, Jeschke MG, Klein MB, Gamelli RL, Gibran NS, Brownstein BH, Miller-Graziano C, Calvano SE, Mason PH, Cobb JP, Rahme LG, Lowry SF, Maier RV, Moldawer LL, Herndon DN, Davis RW, Xiao W, Tompkins RG; Inflammation and Host Response to Injury, Large Scale Collaborative Research Program. Genomic responses in mouse models poorly mimic human inflammatory diseases. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Feb 26;110(9):3507-12. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1222878110. Epub 2013 Feb 11.