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June 17, 2019

Witty Twitter account dedicated to posting scientific articles that overhype results found only in mice

@justinmice is promoting a critical outlook on scientific evidence

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just in mice twitter account Sandy Millar/Unsplash

@justinmice serves as a reality check for overstated health and science reporting.

The world of health research is a tricky one to navigate. Most coverage of studies seem to be either overly positive — like the many touting potential cancer cures — or overheated worry over nearly every behavior from sleeping to eating.

Oftentimes, such studies are overhyping preliminary findings, Vox reports. It seems that some of the most exciting and promising research is conducted on mice, but Vox adds that “there’s still a lot of uncertainty about how much mouse findings are applicable to humans.”

This reality inspired James Heathers, a behavioral scientist, to create the Twitter account “Just Says In Mice” where he retweets research and science articles with the simple caption: “IN MICE.”

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Needless to say, this account has been a big hit. Heather’s @justinmice account has nearly 63,000 followers who have gotten into looking at research more critically by tweeting mice-only research at the account.

Heather’s penned an explanation for the account on Medium this past April where he states:

The concept is simple — a lot of science news reporting (which I distinguish from science journalism) is framed badly. Many elements of it grind my gears, and the worst amongst them is: Reporting preliminary animal research out of context.

Heathers adds a disclaimer about @justinmice, “I should note at this point that saying IN MICE after reading a headline is a reasonably common trope amongst scientists.” 

“I’m certain I didn’t invent it,” he continues.

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