Tagged: mice

New Methods in Brain Scans to Examine Running Rats and Flying Bats

April 20th, 2013 in Article 0 comments

Researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory and Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Johns Hopkins Medical School, the University of Maryland, and Weizmann Institute’s Neurobiology Department have all developed new and improved brain scanning techniques. These new methods allow scientists to monitor brain activity in fully-awake, moving animals.

At Brookhaven, researchers combined light-activated proteins that stimulate specific brain cells, a technique known as optogenetics, with positron emission tomography (PET) to observe the effects of stimulation throughout the entire brain. Their paper in the Journal of Neuroscience describes this method, which will allow researchers to map exactly which neurological pathways are activated or deactivated downstream by stimulation in specific brain areas. Hopefully, following these pathways will enable researchers to correlate the brain activity with observed behaviors or certain symptoms of disease.

Three markers on the head of a mouse enable the AwakeSPECT system to obtain functional images of the brain of a conscious mouse as it moves around. (Credit: Image courtesy of DOE/Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility)



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Forced Exercise: A Mental Workout?

October 19th, 2011 in News 2 comments

We all know that we should hit the gym so we can look good, marry a rich dude, and not need to do science anymore. But can dragging yourself to the gym improve your cognitive assets as well?

Recent studies show that even in normal, healthy brains, that forced exercise has effects. Rats who ran voluntarily on a wheel placed on a cage were compared with those who forced to run on a treadmill. Even though the rats who ran voluntarily ran faster, those who were forced to run on a treadmill showed more proliferation in the dentate gyrus and performed better on cognitive tests. More

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