FEB 18, 2016 5:40 AM PST

Building a Better Mouse Maze

When researching treatments for neurological disorders like Parkinson’s Disease or Alzheimer’s Disease, scientists will often use lab animals in testing and experimentation. While mouse models work pretty well for research surrounding Alzheimer’s Disease, they don’t always translate well when it comes to human results.  There have been dozens of pre-clinical trials with mice that either eliminated dementia or prevented it, but none of those trials resulted in a drug that was useful in humans. The problem is the assessments. The lab tests used on mice are not the same kind of tests that can be used on on humans, so there’s no predictive value of the testing.
 
The Morris Water Maze has been improved for humans
 
However, at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Memory and Aging Center, researchers there have partnered with their colleagues at the Gladstone Institutes to develop a test of learning and memory for humans that is comparable to the one used in mice. This cross-disciplinary collaboration is a first in neurological disease research.
 
The results the study were recently published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. The team came up with a virtual version of the Morris water maze, the standard in assessing how mice learn and remember tasks, so that human results and mouse results could be compared accurately.
 
In a press release from the Gladstone Institutes, study author Steve Finkbeiner, a senior investigator at the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease and a professor of neurology and physiology at UCSF said,  “So far, there has been a poor track record of moving things from preclinical discoveries into successful clinical trials. The motivation for this research was to assess how similar the two species are in terms of problem-solving and learning in order to improve the translation of research between mice and humans. The insights we gain can help us better understand how outcomes from drug trials in a mouse might translate to a human.”
 
The study looked at how two groups in each species performed in the maze. Normal mice and those who had been modified to have Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) were put through the Morris Maze, while humans in two similar groups (those with early stage AD and a control group of healthy subjects) played a video game version of the maze. The mouse version of the maze involves swimming to a platform and remembering where it is. In the video game, participants were asked to play a video game to hunt for treasure, and it required remembering visual cues to find the where it was hidden. Both tests measured spatial learning and require the hippocampus of the brain to process the task, both of which are compromised in patients with AD.
 
The new video game version of the Morris Maze has the same design as the mouse maze, with similar metrics and the statistical methods to calculate the results are better than in previous human tests. Check out the video below to see more about how this new method could bridge the gap between mouse trials and human results.
 
 
About the Author
English
I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
AUG 15, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
Electrical Stimulation of Eyes Improves Symptoms of Alzheimer's, Depression
AUG 15, 2022
Electrical Stimulation of Eyes Improves Symptoms of Alzheimer's, Depression
Electrical stimulation of the eye's surface may alleviate depression-like symptoms and improve cognitive function in ...
AUG 18, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
Why Pro Athletes Treat Their Pain with Weed
AUG 18, 2022
Why Pro Athletes Treat Their Pain with Weed
Many pro athletes swear by using cannabis for various sports injuries. Why?
AUG 24, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
Can Cannabis Help You Diet?
AUG 24, 2022
Can Cannabis Help You Diet?
Can cannabis actually help with weight loss? Here's the details
AUG 28, 2022
Neuroscience
Hot, Humid Weather Linked to Severe Mental Health Symptoms
AUG 28, 2022
Hot, Humid Weather Linked to Severe Mental Health Symptoms
Exposure to sunny, hot, and humid weather may trigger severe mental health symptoms that require emergency care. The cor ...
SEP 13, 2022
Clinical & Molecular DX
Stress During Pregnancy Linked to Negative Emotions in Infants
SEP 13, 2022
Stress During Pregnancy Linked to Negative Emotions in Infants
Stress during pregnancy can have long lasting effects and can impact emotional and physical development in children. Pas ...
SEP 16, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
A magic cure for alcohol use disorder: FDA approves synthetic psilocybin as an investigational new drug for alcohol use disorder.
SEP 16, 2022
A magic cure for alcohol use disorder: FDA approves synthetic psilocybin as an investigational new drug for alcohol use disorder.
Are mushrooms the magic therapeutic to help overcome alcohol use disorder? New data published last month suggest that th ...
Loading Comments...