Behavioral Research Blog

How to let rats run perfectly

Posted by G. Smit on Aug 14, 2015

In a recent blog post, we talked about letting animals walk freely in gait research. 

At Noldus, we strongly believe that this is the way to go in gait research, so our CatWalk XT system makes use of free gait. This is consistent with the constant feedback from, and collaborations with, scientists who actually perform gait, locomotor, or pain research.

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Topics: rats, CatWalk XT, gait analysis, locomotion

Behavioral effects of optogenetically induced myelination in mice

Posted by G. Smit on Jul 16, 2015

Myelination, the ‘ensheathment’ of neurons, is essential to the functioning of the central and peripheral nervous systems. So it is not surprising that problems with myelination can lead to a number of crippling diseases. Known examples include multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative autoimmune diseases.

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Topics: mice, CatWalk XT, gait analysis, locomotion

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

Posted by G. Smit on Apr 23, 2015

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

Gait research: let your animals walk freely

Posted by G. Smit on Apr 15, 2015

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

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

Parkinson’s & gait impairment: comparing rats and humans

Posted by G. Smit on Feb 5, 2015

When you hear about Parkinson’s disease (PD), the first thing that comes to mind is probably impaired movement. And that there is no cure. As PD is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases, you can imagine why it is the focus of many drug development and clinical studies.

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Topics: Parkinson's Disease, rats, CatWalk XT, gait analysis, locomotion

Walking the ladder: testing the cellular source of motor functioning in mice

Posted by G. Smit on Sep 11, 2014

The cerebellum, our “little brain”, is all about motor control; more specifically, it’s about coordination, precision, and timing. So when the functioning of the cerebellum is compromised, incoordination of movement (ataxia) occurs. Ataxia is found in many neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and early onset Alzheimer’s.

Cerebellar cell types functioning

Purkinje cells, interneurons, and granule cells of the cerebellar cortex play an important role in reflexive types of motor learning, as we can tell from studies using the eye blink test and vestibulo-ocular testing. But since their role in more complex behaviors is not well understood, Maria Fernanda Vinueza Veloz and her colleagues decided to study the role of each one of these cell types in motor learning, locomotor adaptation, motivation and avoidance behavior using several knock-out mouse strains and testing them on the ErasmusLadder.

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Topics: mice, ataxia, locomotion, ErasmusLadder, reflexive motor learning, motor performance, cerebellum

Most and least popular posts of 2013 (animal behavior research)

Posted by G. Smit on Dec 31, 2013

It seems inevitable: the end-of-year lists. And yes, here at the Noldus blog, you can find them too. I did not want leave 2013 behind us without mentioning our three most popular blog posts on animal behavior research of this year. While 13 might not be a lucky number for some, we have had a great year in which we saw a lot of growth in zebrafish research and the combination of optogenetics and behavior. Not surprisingly, these two topics showed up in our top 3.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, mice, Video tracking, The Observer XT, animal behavior research, video observation, fish, zebrafish, Danio rerio, DanioVision, Parkinson's Disease, rats, birds, CatWalk XT, gait analysis, arthritis, monkey, locomotion, 2013

The effects of quantum dots on zebrafish larvae locomotor behavior

Posted by G. Smit on Sep 16, 2013

Ever heard of quantum dots? These dots are nanoparticles made of a semiconductor material, which have unique optical properties: the wavelength (and thus color) of their light emission depends on their size, rather than the material they are made of. This is why they are of great interest for fields such as biological imaging, medical diagnostics, drug delivery, and gene therapy.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, zebrafish, DanioVision, locomotion, toxicity

Mice with Alzheimer’s disease walk well but remember poorly

Posted by Olga Krips on Jul 18, 2013

Modeling Alzheimer’s disease
A large number of genetically engineered mouse models are available to study different aspects of Alzheimer’s disease. APP/PS1 knock-in mice are mice in which two genes associated with the disease are inserted at a specific place in the genome. Much is known about the development of the disease in these mice. But until recently, there was less detailed knowledge on behavioral changes in APP/PS1 knock-in mice that are associated with the disease.

 

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Morris water maze, mice, Alzheimer's disease, Video tracking, animal behavior research, exploratory behavior, open field test, anxiety research, elevated plus maze, locomotion, novel object test

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