In the latest Journal of Physiology, scientists in Finland (who even knew they had science in Finland?) describe how exercise creates new brain cells. The following line gave me pause:
“Scientists in Finland gathered a large group of adult male rats…”
Using my old brain cells I struggled to picture the scene. Of course, it’s Finland and it’s cold. Probably dark. In the distance you can hear the cry of a wild reindeer. (Fact: Tame reindeer never cry, especially not “Santa just shot Rudolph.”)
Ironically, the lab where the scientists gathered their rats is also in Finland, also cold, also dark—except for the candle in the men’s room. Although, maybe the word should be coincidentally, not ironically. Hey, maybe even autopolyploidly.
There are so many words. Too many, really. Sometimes the old gray cells just can’t handle them all.
Smaller words like “yo” and “boo” get shoved to the back of a brain cell by scary words like suppository or epistemology. Those words then get squeezed by monsters like inagaddadavida and nostrilhairprotuberansical.
You can easily imagine how word-cell overcrowding triggers word riots — what we on earth know as diarrhea of the pie hole. There’s so much overcrowding that some words wander freely around the cellblock, unfairly getting first dibs on the National Geographics from the library cart.
But, you ask, how does one gather adult male rats in the first place? A reasonable question, I answer. Rat experts cite two basic methods: messaging through Ratfacebook, or rolling a giant cheese wheel down the hill above the laboratory (explains why laboratories are built at the foot of a hill.)
The idea is to get the rats chasing the wheel into the lab where scientists put them on treadmills, dumbbells, dumberbells, ellipticals, hypotenuses and equilateral trade agreements. The goal? To get the rats into the state of Neurogenesis – formerly known as Nevada.
The Finns tell us that Neurogenesis is ruled by our Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, or BDNF—not to be confused with the better known BDNF: Bob Did Not Fluff.
As the rats lie sweating on the lab floor, scientists use their alfalfa male personalities to bore them to death. They cut them up with a Bill Monroe mandolin slicer and call in the lab accountant to tally the new brain cells. As one researcher put it “This is why I went into science.”
At this point in the journal article,* the writer felt compelled to note:
“Obviously, rats are not people.”
Um, not that I know anything about science, but if rats are not people, then why are some people rats? Do scientists not remember their old childhood rhyme?
If wishes were horses/beggars would ride,/if rats were people/horses would be pissed because/look/they don’t bite/their tails are fluffier/they have horse sense/and they love to kick back at a picnic and play/play what?/ Rat shoes?/I don’t think so.
Why is any of this important, you ask? Is it important, you ask, even before I get a chance to answer your stupid first question? Is there a life lesson to be learned from this experiment, you bloviate as I marvel at your rudity.
Are you done? May I continue?
Basically, it’s not important at all, and only marginally interesting if you must know. And, apparently, you must, because I see your smirks of superiority, the hatred in your hearts, the gas in your bags. You bunch of whining, Communist/Fascist/Bassoonist rodent lovers.
*Turns out there are no cartoons: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1113/JP271552/full
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2016, all rights reserved.
I had no idea you read the Journal of Physiology.