Behavioral Research Blog

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

How memory loss caused by diabetes was prevented in transgenic mice

Posted by G. Smit on Feb 13, 2014

Did you know that Alzheimer’s and diabetes are linked? Patients with diabetes have an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and patients with AD show impaired insulin function and glucose metabolism. The tau protein might be one of the connecting factors. This protein, found in neurons, can get hyperphosphorylated, causing it to tangle and ‘clog up’ the neuron - one of the pathological hallmarks of AD.

Investigating tau as the possible link between AD and diabetes
Serena Abbondante and her colleagues (The American Journal of Pathology, 2014) investigated the protein tau as a possible link between the two diseases, because according to them, recent evidence from animal models of diabetes shows that impaired insulin signaling causes tau hyperphosphorylation.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Morris water maze, mice, Alzheimer's disease, Video tracking, Diabetes

How environmental enrichment reduces the effects of stroke

Posted by G. Smit on Aug 1, 2013

A study of environmental enrichment as possible brain tolerance inducing factor for strokes


Some research requires animals to be studied in groups. Of course, this is evident in social interaction studies, but it is also done simply to study each individual’s behavior while they are in a group. In both cases, it is very useful to have video tracking software that can automatically track the behavior of multiple animals simultaneously. Xie et al. recently published a study which shows just that. 

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Morris water maze, Video tracking, social behavior research, rats, stroke, environmental enrichment

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

Circadian rhythmicity and other behavioral studies at the Department of Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience (Washington State University)

Posted by G. Smit on Jul 9, 2013

Many labs use video tracking software to increase the efficiency of their research. In fact, EthoVision XT video tracking software has just reached an impressive milestone: 2000 sites worldwide. I spoke with Dr. Ilia Karatsoreos, who placed the order, and found out that he was helping to furnish a completely new facility at the Washington State University, and does some very interesting research. (Image courtesy of Lara Swimmer Photography.)

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Morris water maze, mice, Video tracking, social behavior research, Parkinson's Disease, open field test, anxiety research, rats, elevated plus maze, CatWalk XT, circadian rhytmicity, metabolic disorder, sleep disorder, obesitas

Video tracking connects some dots between cognitive impairment and cranial radiation

Posted by Annelies Verkerk on Mar 22, 2013

By Dr. Christine Buske

On a yearly basis, an estimated 20.000 individuals are diagnosed with primary brain tumors in the United States alone (Langley & Fidler, 2013). About ten times that number of patients will receive treatment for primary or metastatic brain cancer. Often times, these brain tumors are located in regions that are difficult to reach surgically. This leaves whole brain radiation therapy as the only viable treatment.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Morris water maze, mice, Video tracking, learning and memory, novel object test

The search for autism models continues - why rats are important

Posted by G. Smit on Oct 4, 2012

Autism, or rather Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), continues to be an important topic in scientific research. Although finding the actual cause of ASD is still years away, there have been several studies that point to a strong genetic component (though not all cases are hereditary). People with ASD suffer from difficulties in social interaction and communication because they are limited in their empathic abilities and intuition and have a hard time expressing their emotions. There are also a number of other ways ASD expresses itself, such as compulsive and repetitive behavior. You can image this can make life hard, and a large part of people suffering from ASD lead lonely lives. There is no cure, but there are some therapies. That is why scientific research is important. As potential causes and cures are being studied, the need for good animal models of ASD is becoming more and more important. 

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Morris water maze, Video tracking, animal behavior research, autism research, learning and memory, rats, cognition

3 examples of swimming rats in traumatic brain injury research (TBI)

Posted by G. Smit on Jan 20, 2012

Studies with EthoVision XT and the Morris water maze test

The Morris water maze test is a well validated and often used tool to investigate learning and memory in rats and mice. This blog post elaborates on three studies from The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring (Maryland, USA) that use the Morris water maze in combination with automated tracking software EthoVision XT.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Morris water maze, Video tracking, animal behavior research, methods and techniques

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