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Researcher's Hell

(Behavioral Neuroscience Department, University of Missouri-St. Louis)

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Liz has a headache. Was it the CO2? Maybe!

"CO2?" I ask.

That's what they gas the rodents with. Today was Necropsy Day in the Neuroscience Department: The Day of Necropsies.

A necropsy is an autopsy performed on a dead animal. More specifically, it is the clinical method of 1) gassing to death and 2) spooning the brains out of the dead rats.

Purpose: to analyze the effects of the various drugs that had been pumped into them during the 60 days they were alive.

"We don't actually take out their brains," Liz corrects me. "Just their blood, gonads and adrenals."

Liz's lab-animal guilt has manifested itself in a nightmare premonition: Research Scientist Hell, where huge rats conduct experiments on humans. It's no mere 60-day experience, either. It's an eternity of getting prodded and pierced — in the ass, neck, arms, legs, with needles that sometimes hit their mark, sometimes don't.

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