The mouse is at its best at night. But a new analysis shows that researchers often test these nocturnal creatures during the day-if they record time of day information, this may change the results and make differences between studies.
Of the 200 papers reviewed in the new study, more than half either did not report time for behavioral testing or were vague. Only 20% of people reported night testing.Analysis has been published exist Neuroscience and Biological Behavior Review.
The lead author of the study and West Virginia University neuroscientist Randy Nelson said that this may be a matter of human convenience. “It’s easier for students and technicians to work during the day than for them [at] At night,” Nelson said. But this convenience comes at a price.
“The time of day not only affects the intensity of many variables, including exercise activity, aggressive behavior, and plasma hormone levels,” and changes in these variables can only be observed in certain parts of the circadian cycle, says William D, a behavioral neuroscientist at the University of Wyoming. . Todd. This means that “failure to report the timing of data collection and testing makes the interpretation of the results extremely difficult,” added Natalia Machado, a staff scientist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Neither Todd nor Machado participated in this new study.
Researchers say that it is important for scientists to report their working hours and consider the fact that animal behavior and physiological responses may change over time. As a first step, Nelson said, “In terms of improving the reliability, repeatability, and rigor of behavioral neuroscience research, considering the time of day seems to be a low-hanging fruit.”
Michael Antle, a psychologist at the University of Calgary, also did not participate in the analysis. He said that this difference in the way the research is performed has led to a “replication crisis” in the field of science, and other laboratories cannot reproduce the research results. “Doing research at the wrong time,” he said, “may cause us to miss a discovery altogether.”