Seminars & Events
Friday, October 4, 2013: Dr. Laurie Ryan, SMCM '86 (National Institute on Aging) will speak on "Alzheimer's Disease: Targets and Treatments" at 3:00 pm in Goodpaster Hall 195.
Monday, October 21, 2013: Dr. Greg Elmer (University of Maryland Baltimore) will speak on "Domains and Constructs in Motivation: Where Does the Habenula Fit In?" at 4:45 pm in Goodpaster Hall 195.
Friday, October 25, 2013: Dr. Terry Davidson (American University) will speak on "Why We Overeat and Become Obese? It Could be What We Think!" at 3:00 pm in Goodpaster Hall 195.
Dr. Gwen Calhoon '06 recently received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Maryland Baltimore, and was inducted into Nu Rho Psi.
Flynn, Elise (2012). Effect of cocaine or natural reward in the NVHL animal model of schizophrenia. (Mentor: A.M. Brady)
Schizophrenic patients abuse drugs at higher rates than the general population. Two theories exist to explain this phenomenon: the self-medication hypothesis, which posits that patients use drugs to alleviate their symptoms; and the primary addiction hypothesis, which believes that vulnerability to drug abuse is a symptom of schizophrenia. Here, we use the neonatal ventral hippocampal lesion (NVHL) model, a neurodevelopmental animal model of schizophrenia which has been shown to produce increased drug-seeking behaviors, to study the effects of drug and natural reward on NVHL behavioral abnormalities. Once animals reached adulthood, baseline measurements were then taken for three behaviors: prepulse inhibition (PPI), social interaction, and hyperlocomotion in response to a novel environment. Rats then completed an assigned method for 16 days: rats in the self-administration group (SA) self-administered cocaine or saline; rats in the experimenter-administered group (IP) received IP intraperitoneal injections of cocaine or saline; rats in the sucrose operant training group (food) learned to lever press for sucrose pellets. Behavioral measurements were taken again at early (3 days after training) and late (30 days after training) time points. As expected, deficits in PPI and reduced social interaction were present in the NVHL model. Though some behaviors changed over time, none of the NVHL deficits were ameliorated by drug use, and cocaine use increased the startle response for all animals in the SA group. These results fail to support the self-medication hypothesis and justify the need for a time course of these NVHL behavioral abnormalities without food or drug manipulation.