Seminars & Events
Thursday, September 11, 2014: Dr. Bevil Conway (Wellesley College) will speak on his research in visual neuroscience and color at 4:30 pm in Goodpaster Hall 195.
Monday, October 27, 2014: Dr. Todd Gould (University of Maryland Baltimore) will speak on "Genes to behaviors to treatments in bipolar disorder" at 4:45 pm in Goodpaster Hall 195.Friday, December 5, 2014: Dr. Brian Mathur (University of Maryland Baltimore) will speak on "Braking bad: Aberrant inhibitory neurotransmission in addiction" at 3:00 pm in Goodpaster Hall 195.
Parr, C., Kallevang, J., Fomum-Mugri, L., McDowell, K.A., Yarowsky, P.J., and Bailey, A. (2011, November). Investigation of working memory and hippocampal dependent tasks in an environmentally-induced model of parkinsonism.
Poster presented at the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, Washington, DC.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive and debilitating disease affecting approximately 1% of the population over the age of 65. Disease progression leads to a decrease in quality of life and substantial medical costs. Early detection of PD is vital for effective treatment. Research suggests prior to clinical PD diagnosis patients present with changes in olfaction, depressed mood, decreases in attention, and impaired cognition. Cognitive impairment partially manifests in PD patients as a deficit in working memory, which has been associated with hippocampal atrophy. We investigated olfactory and hippocampal dependent cognitive changes in a progressive model of parkinsonism using washed cycad seed. Rat diets were supplemented with daily pellets composed of either a low (5% of total diet) or high (20% of total diet) dose of washed cycad seed flour for 16 weeks. Previously, rats fed washed cycad seed flour have developed motor deficits similar to PD and display neurological injury in the substantia nigra (SN) evidenced by a loss of tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactive neurons and the development of α-synuclein aggregates. Rats were tested here on a battery of tests to assess working memory and aspects of cognition. No significant differences were seen between the cycad groups or control animals in social odor recognition, y-maze spatial exploration, or novel object recognition. Although not significant, compared to control animals both low and high dose cycad-fed animals did show a decrease in conditional responding to the context as a result of previous training in a Pavlovian fear conditioning task. Post-hoc analysis of the novel object and social odor tasks demonstrated potential anxiety and attention related deficits in both the low and high dose cycad-fed animals.