Gait and motor performance are studied extensively in neuroscience research, which is not surprising when you come to think of it, because it is affected in many neurological diseases. Ataxia is a common problem in Parkinson’s disease (PD), and many early onset Alzheimer’s disease patients (AD) also deal with it. Motor skills are also affected in patients with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
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.
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.
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
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.