Seminars & Events
Monday, February 11, 2013: Dr. Daphne Soares (University of Maryland College Park) will speak on "The Sensory World of Cavefishes" at 4:45 pm in Goodpaster Hall 195.
Monday, March 4, 2013: Dr. Joe Cheer (University of Maryland Baltimore) will speak on "Endogenous Cannabinoids and the Pursuit of Reward" at 4:45 pm in Goodpaster Hall 195.
Friday, April 12, 2013: Dr. Jill McGaughy (University of New Hampshire) will speak on "The Role of Cortical Norepinephrine in the Ontogeny of Executive Function" at 3:00 pm in Schaefer Hall 106.
Dr. Erin Johnson '02 recently received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Rochester School of Medicine, and was inducted as an alumni member of Nu Rho Psi.
Ron Saul, "Chronic activation of the substantia nigra nociceptin/orphanin receptor induces motor deficits similar to Parkinson's disease," 2008. Saul, the 2008 winner of the Neuroscience Award, infused a drug into the substantia nigra of rats and measured the resulting motor behaviors, mood disturbances, and cognitive abilities.
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.