A little hand-holding may help an animal who has lost its right arm, or if it’s been bitten by a dangerous dog.
But it may not make the animal whole.
A new study published in Nature Neuroscience suggests that touching a sickly animal’s face may cause the animal to deteriorate and die.
“Our results suggest that, while a lot of research has focused on what we might call ‘soft touch’ techniques, we don’t yet have a good idea of what happens to animals that are suffering and that are not getting enough care,” said study author James G. Williams, a professor of neurology and behavioral neuroscience at the University of California, San Diego.
“We are now at a point where we can use technology to help animals in desperate need.
We are looking at a number of different ways that we can help animals that have lost their arms or limbs.”
The study involved a team of researchers at the Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the University at Buffalo.
Williams and his colleagues found that when an animal had lost its arm or leg, touching its face caused it to become more responsive to touch, which in turn made it more responsive when it was touched by a human hand.
The researchers then measured the animal’s reaction to the touch of a human’s arm or hand.
Afterward, they recorded the animal again and found that the animal seemed to recover more rapidly from the touch than from the arm or the leg loss.
The researchers did not use a technique known as “in-vivo” animal testing.
Instead, they used computer simulations to create the simulated animals’ responses to a series of simulated touches.
This simulated hand-and-arm contact led to the animals being able to recover their limbs.
“If you take a simple human arm, the human arm is not very responsive to it,” Williams said.
“You can’t touch it and it responds by trying to grab the arm and the hand, and then it will move.
We were able to show that, in that case, you can actually put your arm on the animal and it will respond.”
While the study was a study on human and animal behavior, the team plans to apply the same technology to humans and to use it to help people.
They are currently studying whether touch-based techniques could be used to treat stroke victims.