Autism: Some Vital Research Links

Autism is regarded by many autistic people as a neurodivergence,  or indeed a minority people, not a fault.  Although adding that of course some have multiple conditions and require a lot of support, and that proper support that values and respects all autistic people and their families fully is much needed.

This is a quick list of some of the research that I value:

Autism: Some Vital Research Links

Can gut bacteria cause autism (in mice)?

Given the fanfare accorded to this study, the evidence for its central claim is remarkably weak. The differences between mice with autistic and non-autistic donors are subtle if they exist at all. And there are reasons to be skeptical about even these small effects.

Autism is defined in terms of human behaviour. And so the claim that mice showed “autism-like” behaviour relies on an assumption that the mouse behaviours under investigation are in some sense equivalent to the behaviours that define autism in humans. We assume, for example, that reduced ultrasonic vocalizations are analogous to the language and communication difficulties experienced by autistic children, or that marble-burying equates to repetitive behaviours and interests. And those assumptions may be wrong.

In fairness, this isn’t a criticism of this study in particular. It’s a challenge for any researcher attempting to study autism via mouse behaviour. But it’s important to remember that when we say “autism-like behaviour”, what this really means is “behaviour in mice that can be described using the same words that we use to describe autism”.

Can gut bacteria cause autism (in mice)?