Tag Archives: research

Oh, Mouse!


220px-TheMousesTale-Original.svgI’ve been reading a lot of research results lately and I’m starting to get disturbed. There are millions and millions of little mice going the way of all good research animals to help us figure out MS, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and lots and lots of other disease entities.

I am grateful for their (unwilling) service. I can’t say to stop the research on these poor wee things, because their contribution has been massive. But I am beginning to worry about the net karmic loss of snuffing out all those millions of mice for every year of study. Sooner or later, the balance has to shift and we’ll all start dropping from some mouse virus and it will all be fair, really, given how many tiny souls we’ve sent over that crowded rainbow bridge.

Every time I inject myself with my “disease-modifying medication” I send a wee thank you to the mice who squeaked their way through the multiple trials before we even dared to give it to humans. There’s even a special kind of mouse, bred to develop an MS type illness so then they can try to treat it. Mice bred to develop all sorts of other illnesses, too. So not only do they live their lives in clear plastic cages with little sensory input, but they get illnesses they normally would never have to deal with.

Upon such tiny lives are ours based.

Now, I know, your average wild mouse has an extremely short lifespan. We aren’t White-mouse-in-lab-009necessarily changing the length of the life of these mice. We’re just making them miserable for all their lives.

Of course, I may be wrong. Perhaps there is an inheritability acceptance of their sterile home. Perhaps, like families who refuse to leave Cape Breton or Gimli or the Eastern Townships for generations, these little creatures know nothing else and so think they are in paradise. After all, they get fed. Their nests are clean. I’m not sure if they get to mate with other sterile mousekins (but they must – otherwise where would new sterile mice come from?)

And there is hope. Mice don’t accurately represent human diseases after all, and they are pricey. So many doctors are giving them up as research subjects. Stem cells are making big inroads into the mouse subject market.

I do hope we stop using animals for research eventually. Maybe we could use those stem cells. Or Republicans. Or the Liberal government in Nova Scotia at present. Something with no feelings. Just sayin’.

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My Land! as my mother would say. Suddenly all is explained….


Witzelsucht

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Witzelsucht, from the German witzeln, meaning to joke or wisecrack, and sucht meaning addiction or yearning, is a set of rare neurological symptoms characterized by the patient’s uncontrollable tendency to make puns, tell inappropriate jokes and pointless or irrelevant stories at inconvenient moments. The patient nevertheless finds these utterances intensely amusing. It is associated with small lesions of the orbitofrontal cortex.[1]

It is distinguished from pathologic laughing by virtue of congruent affective experience and expression, and an admixture of irritability and mirth. It is most commonly seen in patients withfrontal lobe disease or injury, particularly right frontal lobe tumors or trauma. Elderly people are very prone to this disorder because of the decreased mass of their gray tissue. For instance, the stereotype of the wise-cracking grandfather may have originated from this as it became a common part of every day life.

^ Mendez, M.D., Ph.D, Mario F (2005). Moria and Witzelsucht from Frontotemporal Dementia. The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and clinical neurosciences.

Wow.  I can relate.  I think this is a familial disorder, having spent entire days trapped in the back seat of my dad’s car, driving somewhere, while he and my brother traded execrable puns until I cried for mercy. I have a friend who is unable to control his punning, and I fear for him, mainly because I have a fireplace in my house and thus a poker.

I’ve been known to “approach others without apprehension” and to share stories inappropriately with complete strangers. I touch strangers. I laugh at things immoderately.

I suppose this may all have something to do with those little lesions in my head thanks to MS – or maybe it’s damage caused by being raised on a steady diet of Monty Python and Fawlty Towers and Benny Hill and Laugh-In. Obviously there are some strange linkages in my head that have been reinforced – much like learning a new language, where practice makes perfect.

The case report is scary.  And here I thought I was just being friendly:

“A 57-year-old right-handed female had a 2-year personality change described as increased gregariousness, excitement, and a tendency to indiscriminately approach strangers without apprehension. She had become the life of the party and would laugh, joke, and sing all the time. The patient had decreased self-care and hygiene and wore the same clothes every day. In addition, she had developed a compulsive tendency, particularly with hoarding of money, and an addiction to ice cream with marked weight gain.”

Of course, I have no evidence of hoarding of money. That just isn’t happening.

But I work at home and have been known to dress similarly day after day. And I love ice cream…

There’s hope for me yet.  I haven’t started to pun. Please, stop me before it is too late……;-)

And how I wish I’d named my puppy this….