Am I a Mouse? Or more tails of autism.

March 17, 2016 § 4 Comments


I’m now asking myself  if I’ll have to write a blog post a day to cope with all the upsetting things that float my way on the internet. Perhaps I should just stop checking my Twitter feed.  But then I would miss such gems as the salient fact that zinc could help me and other’s like me.

Today’s tasty morsel is the following science paper tweeted out by Michelle Dawson. (NB. My post is no comment on Michelle whatsoever)

I’m not a scientist and I didn’t get too far in reading the actual text in detail I’ll admit. The emotional cut off point was just beyond this,

“In particular, prenatal zinc deficient but not acute zinc deficient animals have been reported to display autism like behavior in some behavioral tests. However, a full behavioral analysis of a possible autism like behavior has been lacking so far.”

My reading of this study is that it suggests a lack of zinc in pregnancy (of mice) may lead to increases in anxious behaviours in (mice) offspring.

Zinc deficiency may be linked to anxiety. Some autistic people may have been subject to this in utero and be zinc deficient in further life.  This latter has been shown to be the case and I know that I am zinc deficient (scoots off the chemist).

But I am quietly stunned by this work on autism like symptoms in mice and it’s further implications. Am I alone in my profound alienation? I suspect cultural dissonance to be the root cause of my feelings.  I feel strongly that “autism like behaviour in mice” or indeed “possible autism like behaviour” in mice have nothing to do with me, and the behaviours seen in these mice are selected and presented with an NT bias. Dodgy nest-building  in mice for example. What does that translate as in human autistics? Maternal mice instincts askew? No, mine are intact.

No disrespect to the mice of course (I feel quite sorry for them in all this testing), and I’m very happy to take zinc to help with gut function and any other areas of discomfort it might help with.

Anxiety is no good thing – but we must consider that anxiety also has origins in hostile social environments and due to sensory overload. Stigma, discrimination and human cruelty are also significant contributory factors as causations in anxiety for autistic people. No amount of zinc will change that.

But this is the power of prevailing cultural norms. When I pinch myself in the mornings to be sure my new diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome is true, will I now also be checking for mouse ears and a tail. Will I shake my head in wonder and ask myself  am I a mouse?

This is all without touching on the male/female right or wrong number of marbles question. Forgive me for giving it a miss. Why does it feel like I have lost my marbles when it could be that someone else may have lost theirs…




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§ 4 Responses to Am I a Mouse? Or more tails of autism.

  • womandrogyne says:

    NT bias is such a tedious thing. I saw an item recently saying something like “Study shows autistic children 7 times more likely to be gender nonconforming”, which I’ve been retitling as “Study shows NT children 7 times less likely to be aware of the nebulous nature of gender”

    Liked by 3 people

  • Elena Thomas says:

    I’ve got some marbles you can borrow if you feel the need to have the amount someone else has told you you need…

    Liked by 2 people

  • alexforshaw says:

    I read through the paper, and while there is a correlation between prenatal zinc deficiency and behavioural differences in the subject mice I am not convinced that they demonstrate any link to autism. It’s a big step and appears to be dependent on cherry-picking symptoms from the human clinical definitions of autism, and assigning them to supposed analogues in the behaviour of the mice. There is no discussion of their reasons for selecting the subset of autism characteristics that they focus on while ignoring other equally-significant behaviours. For example, there’s nothing that equates to stimming or specialised interests. I’m far from convinced.

    Liked by 1 person

  • […] Source: Am I a Mouse? Or more tails of autism. […]

    Liked by 1 person

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