Behavioral Research Blog

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

Best reads of 2015

Posted by Natasja Bogers on Dec 31, 2015

It’s that time of year again. We’re nearing the end of 2015 and with only hours to go before kicking off a brand new year, we wanted to look back one more time. These are the best read blog posts on the Behavioral Research Blog in 2015!
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Topics: mice, FaceReader, horses, rats, sport, 2015

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

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

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

6 things you must consider to improve your open field testing

Posted by G. Smit on Jun 12, 2014

Last week we talked about the new publication by Berry Spruijt and his colleagues in Journal of Neuroscience Methods, in which they tell us about the limitations of classical behavioral tests such as the open field. The article focused particularly on the great lack of reliability and validity in the use of these tests within and across laboratories. So what can we do to fix this problem? Here are six recommendations the authors list to improve the translational and predictive value of behavioral readouts:

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Topics: EthoVision XT, mice, Video tracking, open field test, rats, PhenoTyper

The do’s and don’ts in behavioral testing: improve your open field test

Posted by G. Smit on Jun 5, 2014

Scientists have been performing open field tests for  quite some time now. For eighty years, to be exact. And over the years it has become one of the most popular tests in rodent behavioral research, as it allows the researcher to study (locomotor) activity, exploration, and anxiety all in one test environment. So what’s not to love? It’s easy, short, and straight-forward. Plus, it is a highly validated test…or is it?

In their recent review in Journal of Neuroscience Methods, Berry Spruijt (Professor of Ethology and Animal Welfare, Utrecht University, the Netherlands) and his colleagues tell us that, like most of the popular classical tests, it is actually not well validated. This is a well-known problem in behavioral research. In fact, specific for the open field test, there seems to be a lack of reliability and validity. Despite all the efforts labs put into standardizing their methods and procedures, there is still a great amount of variability in behavioral results within and across laboratories.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, mice, Video tracking, open field test, rats, PhenoTyper

Why rats help other rats

Posted by G. Smit on Feb 27, 2014

As humans, we help each other because it is the right thing to do. We help our friends and our family. And of course we help strangers as well. Right?

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Topics: EthoVision XT, Video tracking, social behavior research, rats

How to easily automate the elevated plus maze test

Posted by G. Smit on Feb 20, 2014

Anxiety. It is nature’s way to keep us out of harm’s way, so it is a useful emotion. At times, though, it can also be overwhelming. For some, it gets out of control, irrational, and even disabling. This is when we call it an anxiety disorder. Did you know that anxiety affects 20% of all people in some way or form? No wonder anxiety disorders are often subject of scientific study.

Anxiety in animals
Rats and mice are often used as model organism to study the basics of anxiety and anxiety disorders, possible treatments, neurodevelopment, and genetic backgrounds. The most well-known test paradigm is the elevated plus maze.

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Topics: EthoVision XT, mice, Video tracking, anxiety research, rats, elevated plus maze

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