Neurobiologist David Roberson fancies himself a palm reader. Or rather, a paw reader.

Roberson, an investigator at Boston Children’s Hospital, is trying to create a sharper way to measure pain and test pain drugs by measuring the fancy footwork of rodents. The scientist says current methods to measure pain in rats aren’t all that great, because the animals are often in the middle of a panic attack when a predator — in this case, a scientist — is looming.

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