Behavioral Research Blog

Mice with spatial and odor memory impairment – new model for sporadic Alzheimer’s

Posted by G. Smit on Feb 27, 2017

Plaques and tangles… those of you even remotely familiar with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) will immediately recognize these hallmarks. Many rodent models, focusing on plaques and tangles, have been developed to explore the cause and possible treatments of AD, and much progress has been made.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, mice, Video tracking, learning and memory, olfactory memory

Discrimination learning without human intervention or food restriction

Posted by G. Smit on Dec 15, 2016

 

Learning paradigms have long been the hallmark in studies on neurological and psychiatric disorders, but they often present challenges and come with limitations. For example, many of these tasks require some combination of food restrictions, handling of the animals, and/or are quite labor-intensive. Sylics recently introduced a new paradigm, called CognitionWall, that you might have already seen on our website, and aims to get around some of these limitations.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, mice, Video tracking, learning and memory, PhenoTyper, cognition, cognitionwall, sylics

How sleep heals the brain

Posted by G. Smit on May 10, 2016


rearing-brow-rat-500.jpgWe sleep a large portion of our lives. We need to, we know this, and science proves it. Sleep helps us to process what we have learned, to let our nervous system function properly, and to concentrate during the day. We have all been there: a bit of stress or anxiety for a big day coming up leads to not sleeping well, and we suffer the consequences. Loss of concentration, maybe a bit cranky… my mother always told me sleep makes everything better. And now researchers have proven that it can heal the brain. The question is, how?

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Topics: EthoVision XT, learning and memory, rats, novel object test, traumatic brain injury, sleep research

Dementia symptoms following surgery

Posted by Guest blogger on Sep 3, 2015

Characterizing postoperative cognitive dysfunction with a novel rat-model.

This week we have a guest post by Iris Hovens. She has done some really interesting research into the consequences of surgery in terms of reduced memory and concentration problems. This is especially a concern for elderly people. We are very happy that Iris has so kindly agreed to write about her research on our blog. At the end of this post, you will also find a link to a free white paper about this research! Thank you, Iris!

In the Netherlands, yearly more than 400.000 patients aged over 60 undergo surgery. Although the surgeries are aimed at improving health and well-being, ten percent of these older surgery patients will develop dementia-like symptoms, such as reduced memory and concentration and problems with planning and information processing. This postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD) seriously affects the life of patients and their near friends and relatives, as it is associated with a reduced quality of life, increased dependency on social care and an increased risk of lasting mental and functional disability.
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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, learning and memory, open field test, novel object test, dementia

Mice in the spotlight: why you should perform your tests in a home cage

Posted by G. Smit on Aug 6, 2015

Mouse models have proven to be essential in discovering the neurological underpinnings of diseases and to the development of a deeper understanding of genotype-phenotype relations. Behavioral phenotyping of these mice is very important, evidenced by the variety of tests that have been described in literature. Unfortunately, many of these tests are susceptible to bias, for example, testing in a novel environment. Bias can also result from handling animals prior to the tests, which can induce artificial behaviors that confound results.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, mice, Video tracking, learning and memory, anxiety research, home cage, PhenoTyper

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

Posted by G. Smit on Mar 17, 2015

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, top 10, ErasmusLadder, reflexive motor learning, motor performance

How Ginkgo biloba helps treat Alzheimer’s

Posted by G. Smit on Mar 12, 2015

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

Top 14 of last year’s animal behavior research blog posts

Posted by G. Smit on Dec 30, 2014

We cannot stay behind when it comes to the end-of-year lists, so here is a top 14 of 2014’s most popular animal behavior posts on our Noldus behavioral research blog. (For a top 3 on human behavior research, see this post) As expected, the list is dominated by zebrafish research, but it’s not the topic of our most read post!

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Topics: mice, social behavior research, dogs, horses, zebrafish, learning and memory, open field test, anxiety research, rats, wolves, caterpillars, 2014, crayfish

Inhibitory avoidance learning in zebrafish (Danio rerio)

Posted by Guest blogger on Oct 24, 2014

By Remy Manuel, Marnix Gorissen and Ruud van den Bos
(email: r.manuel@science.ru.nl, m.gorissen@science.ru.nl & r.vandenbos@science.ru.nl)

The zebrafish (Danio rerio) is increasingly being used as model in behavioural, neurobiological and genetic research. Underlying reasons are high genetic homology to humans and the many advantages over the use of rodents, such as low cost, easy handling, short reproduction cycle and high fecundity. Furthermore, its genome, transcriptome and proteome are well described, making the species a model of choice for behavioural research linked to genetics.

An emerging field addresses learning and memory related to anxiety and fear behaviour, which has been studied through inhibitory avoidance paradigms [1,2]. Assessment of inhibitory avoidance learning in zebrafish is based on the conflict between entering a dark area to avoid a brightly lit area (innate response; innate anxiety) and avoiding this dark area, as it has been associated with an electric shock as negative stimulus (conditioned fear avoidance). Higher latencies of entering the dark area following training are indicative of increased inhibitory avoidance learning.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, zebrafish, learning and memory, avoidance learning

Can caffeine prevent Alzheimer's?

Posted by G. Smit on May 22, 2014

A Morris water maze memory study in mice models of Alzheimer's disease

By G. Smit, MSc and A. Macbeth, PhD

What is the most popular drug in the world? It’s not alcohol, cannabis, or cocaine, but something most of us start with each day. Coffee;  or, more specifically: caffeine. Like millions of other people, it helps me get started and prevents my morning headaches. Caffeine also has been shown to prevent age-related cognitive decline by reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and dementia. It is not surprising, then, that much research has already been done on the effect of caffeine in the development of AD.

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

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