Behavioral Research Blog

Alzheimer's: prevent instead of cure? Groundbreaking research and animal models

Posted by G. Smit on Apr 23, 2015 1:00:00 PM

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a huge public health issue as it affects a large part of the aging population. By 2050, experts estimate this number will exceed 100 million worldwide. Those of you that are a familiar with the underlying pathological hallmarks of  AD will recognize the terms plaques and tangles. These protein built-ups in the brain are well-researched; however, this neuropathology is studied primarily in the end stages of the disease.

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Topics: mice, Alzheimer's disease, locomotion, ErasmusLadder, motor learning, motor performance

Prof. Berry Spruijt says goodbye (but not really)

Posted by G. Smit on Apr 21, 2015 3:00:00 PM

Did you discover something new today? This was the question Prof. Berry Spruijt used to get from his kids on a daily basis. As little ones, they might have expected their father to come home with the Nobel Prize every day.

While we normally focus on a specific study or type of research or research tools, today’s post is a little different. Prof. Dr. Berry M. Spruijt recently retired from his position at Utrecht University. I had the honor of attending the symposium that was organized to reflect on and celebrate his career.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, animal behavior research, animal welfare, PhenoTyper, UltraVox XT

Does the sex of a simulated patient affect CPR?

Posted by Annelies Verkerk on Apr 20, 2015 10:29:10 AM

It shouldn’t, but it does.

Although men and women are equally at risk for sudden cardiac arrest, studies have found that women are less likely to be resuscitated – by both bystanders and medically-trained personnel. Chelsea Kramer and her colleagues discovered that in the experiment they set up, when faced with either a male or female patient simulator, both men and women rescuers appeared reluctant to remove a female patient simulator’s clothing, with men being significantly more hesitant to do so. However, the hand placement for CPR on the female was more ideal compared to on the male simulated patient.

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Topics: The Observer XT, doctor patient interaction, medical encounter, media recorder, simulation, healthcare

Which head and neck positions are stressful for your horse during lunging?

Posted by Linda Hoekstra on Apr 17, 2015 12:00:00 PM

Being a horse owner and a Noldus employee is the perfect combination when it comes to keeping track of the scientific background for my horseback riding hobby. Since horses communicate differently than humans, I always wonder if I have a “happy athlete” when we are exercising together. Esmee Smiet and colleagues recently investigated the effects of different head and neck positions (HNPs) on behavior, heart rate variability (HRV) and cortisol levels in lunged Royal Dutch Sport horses. Interestingly, they were able to find significant differences in stress response between different head and neck positions, suggesting that there are indeed low stress and high stress ways to exercise your horse.  

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Topics: The Observer XT, horses, physiology, stress research

Gait research: let your animals walk freely

Posted by G. Smit on Apr 15, 2015 2:00:00 PM

Researchers use different ways to analyze gait in animals. Basically we can distinguish two methods: one can either observe or measure gait in an unrestricted manner, or one chooses a forced manner, such as a treadmill or treadwheel.

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Topics: Parkinson's Disease, CatWalk XT, gait analysis, spinal cord injury, ataxia, locomotion

Video-tracking to monitor the effect of influenza infection on the activity level of ferrets

Posted by Guest blogger on Apr 10, 2015 12:00:00 PM

A guest blogpost by Ding Yuan Oh, PhD

Conventional ferret activity measurements by human observation

Ferrets are the ideal animal model to assess influenza virus infection and pathogenicity as they display similar clinical symptoms to humans such as sneezing, fever and lethargy. Conventionally, lethargy or ferret activity is determined manually by an observer. However, this method is prone to bias and requires trained personnel to recognise subtle changes in individual ferret activity.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, activity monitoring, ferrets

Behavior and emotions of older adults

Posted by Annelies Verkerk on Mar 25, 2015 10:13:31 AM

With the predicted increase of the elderly population worldwide, it has become increasingly important to develop user-friendly products and services to assist elderly people in daily activities and improve their quality of life. Did you know that it is expected that in 2050 an estimated 1.5 billion people will be 65+, representing about 16% of the world’s population?[1]

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Topics: The Observer XT, Observation lab, living labs

10 Innovative behavioral studies on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

Posted by G. Smit on Mar 17, 2015 4:30:00 PM

Tomorrow the 12th International Conference on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases (ADPD) in Nice, France starts. Last week I blogged about a study on Ginkgo biloba and Alzheimer's, and I thought this would be a great opportunity to highlight some more studies and get you in the mood for the conference. This blog post features 10 interesting studies that use innovative techniques to study models of AD and PD and important underlying neuronal mechanisms.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, mice, Alzheimer's disease, Video tracking, zebrafish, Danio rerio, DanioVision, Parkinson's Disease, learning and memory, rats, CatWalk XT, gait analysis, locomotion, ErasmusLadder, reflexive motor learning, motor performance

How Ginkgo biloba helps treat Alzheimer’s

Posted by G. Smit on Mar 12, 2015 12:00:00 PM

Ginkgo biloba. Some of you might recognize it as a dietary supplement that is supposed to enhance cognitive function, but studies investigating these claims have mixed results. Xu Liu and colleagues recently investigated the effects of Ginkgo biloba extract on a mouse model for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Interestingly, they were able to confirm positive effects on AD pathology, such as improved memory, but only after long-term treatment.  

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Topics: EthoVision XT, mice, Alzheimer's disease, Video tracking, learning and memory, Barnes maze

Motivation and eating: deep brain imaging in freely moving mice

Posted by G. Smit on Mar 5, 2015 12:00:00 PM

Craving a certain snack, getting it from the fridge or at the store, then the joy of eating it. It’s a familiar ritual for most of us. Scientist say we are performing appetitive and consummatory behavior, and the part of our brain that regulates these behaviors is the lateral hypothalamus (LH). You can imagine that this is an important element in the investigation of, for example, addiction and eating disorders. The problem is that the LH seems to be a mosaic of different neurons with different functions, making it difficult to specifically target them. 

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Topics: EthoVision XT, mice, Video tracking, optogenetics, eating disorder, deep brain imaging, addiction

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