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An Evaluation of the Levonorgestrel-Releasing Intrauterine Device and its Impact on Cognitive Function in a Rat Model

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The aim of this study was to determine whether IUD administration, with and without the presence of Levo, and with and without the presence of the ovaries, impacts cognition in a rat model. Rats received either Sham or Ovariectomy (Ovx)

The aim of this study was to determine whether IUD administration, with and without the presence of Levo, and with and without the presence of the ovaries, impacts cognition in a rat model. Rats received either Sham or Ovariectomy (Ovx) surgery (removal of the ovaries), plus either no IUD, a Blank IUD (without Levo), or a Levo-releasing IUD (Levo IUD), enabling us to evaluate the effects of Ovx and the effects of IUD administration on cognition. Two weeks after surgery, all treatment groups were tested on the water radial arm maze, Morris water maze, and visible platform task to evaluate cognition. At sacrifice, upon investigation of the uteri, it was determined that some of the IUDs were no longer present in animals from these groups: Sham\u2014Blank IUD, Ovx\u2014Blank IUD, and Sham\u2014Levo IUD. Results from the remaining three groups showed that compared to Sham animals with no IUDs, Ovx animals with no IUDs had marginally impaired working memory performance, and that Ovx animals with Levo IUDs as compared to Ovx animals with no IUDs had marginally enhanced memory performance, not specific to a particular memory type. Results also showed that Ovx animals with Levo IUDs had qualitatively more cells in their vaginal smears and increased uterine horn weight compared to Ovx animals with no IUDs, suggesting local stimulation of the Levo IUDs to the uterine horns. Overall, these results provide alternative evidence to the hypothesis that the Levo IUD administers Levo in solely a localized manner, and suggests that the possibility for the Levo IUD to affect reproductive cyclicity in ovary-intact animals is not rejected. The potential for the Levo IUD to exert effects on cognition suggests that either the hormone does in fact systemically circulate, or that the Levo IUD administration affects cognition by altering an as yet undetermined hormonal or other feedback between the uterus and the brain.

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2018-12

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The first in its class? The cognitive effects of the contraceptive hormone drospirenone when given with and without an estrogen

Description

Drospirenone (DRSP) is a novel, pharmacologically unique synthetic progestin with properties more similar to the endogenous progestogen, progesterone, than any other progestin currently on the market. While a significant amount of research has been conducted on the risks associated with

Drospirenone (DRSP) is a novel, pharmacologically unique synthetic progestin with properties more similar to the endogenous progestogen, progesterone, than any other progestin currently on the market. While a significant amount of research has been conducted on the risks associated with DRSP, the impact of DRSP on cognition, especially in reference to learning and memory, is not well understood. However, it is imperative to fully understand the cognitive effects of DRSP, both alone and in combination with EE (as taken in a combined oral contraceptive [COC]), so that women and their physicians can make a fully-informed decision when deciding to take a DRSP-containing COC. Study 1 examined the effects of three doses of DRSP in order to determine the optimal dose for combining with EE, and found that the medium dose of DRSP (30 µg/day) enhanced spatial working memory performance. In Study 2, the medium dose of DRSP from Study 1 was combined with low (0.125 µg/day) and high (0.3 µg/day) doses of EE to examine the effects of DRSP as taken with EE in a COC. The results from Study 2 indicated that when DRSP was combined with a low, but not high, dose of EE, spatial working memory impairments were seen at the highest working memory load. Anxiety-like behavior was evaluated using the OFT, and DRSP was shown to decrease measures of anxiety-like behavior. Additionally, while treatment with a high dose of EE decreased several measures of anxiety-like behavior, a low dose of EE did not, suggestive of a dose response. Taken together, the findings presented from both studies suggest that some of the cognitive effects of the combination of DRSP with EE are different than those of either hormone administered on its own. Further exploration in a preclinical, ovary-intact animal model is a next step to fully understand these effects in the translational context of a contraceptive, given that women taking an EE-DRSP combination are typically ovary-intact.

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2017-05

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Development of Brief Memory Tests for Use with Pet Dogs

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Brief memory tasks for use with pet dogs were developed using radial arm maze performance as a standard comparison measurement of memory capacity. Healthy pet dogs were first tested in a radial arm maze, where more errors made in completing

Brief memory tasks for use with pet dogs were developed using radial arm maze performance as a standard comparison measurement of memory capacity. Healthy pet dogs were first tested in a radial arm maze, where more errors made in completing the maze indicated poorer memory. These dogs were later tested with five novel memory tests, three of which utilized a treat placed behind a box with an identical distracter nearby. The treat placement was shown to each dog, and a 35 second delay, a 15 second delay with occluder, or a 15 second delay with room exit was observed before the dog could approach and find the treat. It was found that errors on the delayed match to sample (35 second delay) and occluder/object permanence (15 second delay with occluder) tasks were significantly positively correlated with the average number of errors made in the 8th trial of the radial arm maze (r =.58, p<.01** and r =.49, p<.05*, respectively) indicating that these new brief tests can reliably be used to assess memory in pet dogs.

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2015-05

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Together but not for better? Conjugated equine estrogens, estradiol, androstenedione, and their interactions on spatial memory in C-57 mice

Description

Menopause is associated with a wide array of negative symptoms. As average lifespan increases due to advances in healthcare and technology, more women are spending a larger portion of their lives in a menopausal state low in estrogen and progesterone.

Menopause is associated with a wide array of negative symptoms. As average lifespan increases due to advances in healthcare and technology, more women are spending a larger portion of their lives in a menopausal state low in estrogen and progesterone. Hormone therapies such as Conjugated Equine Estrogens (CEE) and the bioidentical estrogen, 17-estradiol (E2), are commonly prescribed to treat the negative symptoms of menopause. Our laboratory has previously shown that CEE has differential effects on cognitive ability depending on whether menopause is transitional (VCD) or surgical (ovariectomy, OVX). Further, the negative impact of CEE on cognitive function in a transitional ovary-intact model of menopause was associated with high levels of serum androstenedione; the primary hormone circulating in a follicle-deplete menopausal state. Here, we investigate the cognitive effects of these two common hormone therapies separately, and in conjunction with the hormone androstenedione, in a "blank-slate" OVX mouse model. We assessed cognitive ability using two behavioral tasks such at the Water Radial Arm Maze (WRAM, measuring spatial working and reference memory) and the Morris water maze (MM, measuring spatial reference memory). In the WRAM, every treatment group saw impaired performance compared to Vehicle but the combination group of E2 plus Androstenedione. In the MM, the combination group of E2 plus Androstenedione actually enhanced performance in the maze compared to every other comparable group. Translationally, these results suggest that CEE given in the presence of an androstenedione-dominant hormone milieu is impairing to cognition, E2 in this same manner is not. These results yield valuable insight into optimal hormone therapies for menopausal women.

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2016-05

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An analysis of how narcocorridos portray the political sociology of the Mexican Drug cartels in Mexican society

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Since the collapse of the Medellin Cartel in Colombia in 1993, the Mexican drug cartels have been increasing in strength and international presence. Along with the organization's political and economic involvement, a deeply rooted culture has been developing. Three distinct

Since the collapse of the Medellin Cartel in Colombia in 1993, the Mexican drug cartels have been increasing in strength and international presence. Along with the organization's political and economic involvement, a deeply rooted culture has been developing. Three distinct time periods define this culture: pre-Medellin Cartel collapse (1970s-1993), post-Medellin Cartel Collapse (1993-2006) and post-President Calderon's Drug War announcement (2006-present day). More specifically, the history and fascination with the cartel is documented in songs, known as narcocorridos, which celebrate and support the drug cartels. The science of political sociology addresses the power relationship that exists between a state, its citizens, and the state's social groups. This study investigates the political sociology of each period, specifically how society viewed the cartel and their roles within the cartel. I argue that the narcocorridos accurately describe the evolution of narcoculture in Mexican society. This study consists of analyses of narcocorrido song lyrics, the political sociology of each time period, and finally, the societal perception of the drug cartel. First, I will evaluate the most popular songs' lyrics of the three defining time periods in the Mexican Drug Cartel history. Next, I will analyze the lyrics and determine whether or not they accurately reflect the political sociological features of the time period. Last, I will discuss what the societal perceptions of being associated with the cartel were during each time period. This study concludes by hypothesizing what the future of narcocorriodos will be. This prediction will demonstrate how the songs will continue to reflect the political sociology of the time period, including the societal attitudes towards the cartel.

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2016-05

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Development of a Brief Task to Study Memory in Young and Old Dogs

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This study was conducted in order to create a brief task that more efficiently studies the memory of young and old dogs compared to previous dog radial arm mazes. The hypotheses were older dogs would perform worse than younger dogs,

This study was conducted in order to create a brief task that more efficiently studies the memory of young and old dogs compared to previous dog radial arm mazes. The hypotheses were older dogs would perform worse than younger dogs, brief tasks with longer delays and the presence of an occluder would produce worse results, and the brief task with the longest delay period without an occluder would be most correlated to the radial arm maze. 45 dogs were tested from a previous sample that had participated in a radial arm maze experiment. The dogs were tested in their owner's homes and watched the researcher place a treat behind one of two boxes. Dogs then waited during different delay periods, of 15, 30, or 45 seconds, and with or without an occluder, which was a curtain. Then, the dog was released to see if it could still remember which box the treat was behind. The results supported all the hypotheses, except the 45-second brief task with an occluder was most correlated the radial arm maze. Additionally, the dogs that had to be excluded from the radial arm maze still had a similar range of results on the brief tasks as dogs that were able to complete the radial arm maze. These results confirm the radial arm maze is very difficult and strenuous on dogs, but the brief task is correlated and probably much more effective at studying memory without these issues. This study can help researchers perfect this simple task in order to study many dogs much quicker and collect more information on dogs' memory. Future studies could overcome limitations including dogs that were not motivated by treats or that were too old to stand up. Specific breeds could be tested or longitudinal studies could be conducted to find differences in memory over time. In the future, this can hopefully relate to human cognitive decline knowledge, as dogs show similar cognitive decline to humans, and help find treatments for cognitive diseases.

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2015-12

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Cognitive efficacy of three bioidentical, endogenously circulating estrogens given as hormone therapy: Extending prior findings and navigating into unchartered territory

Description

Women are now living longer than ever before, yet the age of spontaneous menopause has remained stable. This results in an increasing realization of the need for an effective treatment of cognitive and physiological menopausal and post-menopausal symptoms. The most

Women are now living longer than ever before, yet the age of spontaneous menopause has remained stable. This results in an increasing realization of the need for an effective treatment of cognitive and physiological menopausal and post-menopausal symptoms. The most common estrogen component of hormone therapy, conjugated equine estrogens (CEE; Premarin) contains many estrogens that are not endogenous to the human body, and that may or may not be detrimental to cognition (Campbell and Whitehead, 1977; Engler-Chiurazzi et al., 2011; Acosta et al., 2010). We propose the use of a novel treatment option in the form of a naturally-circulating (bioidentical) estrogen called estriol. Due to estriol’s observed positive effects on synaptic functioning and neuroprotective effects in the hippocampus (Ziehn et al., 2012; Goodman et al., 1996), a brain structure important for spatial learning and memory, estriol is promising as a hormone therapy option that may attenuate menopausal- and age- related memory decline. In the current study, we administered one of the three bioidentical estrogens (17β-Estradiol, 4.0 µg/day; Estrone, 8.0 µg/day; Estriol, 8.0 µg/day) or the vehicle polyethylene glycol by subcutaneous osmotic pump to ovariectomized Fisher-344 rats. We compared these groups to each other using a battery of spatial learning tasks, including the water radial-arm maze (WRAM), Morris water maze (MM), and delayed-match-to-sample maze (DMS). We found that all estrogens impaired performance on the WRAM compared to vehicle, while 17β-estradiol administration improved overnight forgetting performance for the MM. The estriol group showed no cognitive enhancements relative to vehicle; however, there were several factors indicating that both our estriol and estradiol doses were too high, so future studies should investigate whether lower doses of estriol may be beneficial to cognition.

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2015-05

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Cultural Differences in Memory Output

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Music and emotions have been studied frequently in the past as well as music and memory. However, these three items don’t have as much research grouped together. Further, this research does not also encompass culture. In my research, the aim

Music and emotions have been studied frequently in the past as well as music and memory. However, these three items don’t have as much research grouped together. Further, this research does not also encompass culture. In my research, the aim was to examine the relationship between music, memory, emotion, and culture of gender. The hypothesis was that women had more emotions linked to music than men. We gave 416 students an animal fluency task, a letter fluency task, six cultural fluency tasks, and a cultural identity survey. We used a t-test and created a graph to analyze my data. After administering my tasks, we found that women had recalled more adjectives linked to music than men. However, there was not a statistically significant difference between the number of adjectives with emotional valence between men and women, indicating that there was no relationship between gender and emotion in regards to music. The limitations on this study included the descriptions on how to complete the task, the cultural norms of the participants, and the disparity between the number of female and male participants. In a future study, it is necessary to be more specific in what is desired from the participants and to pay close attention to shifting gender norms. Further, we would also like to see how the results from future research can impact music therapy for memory-related mood disorders.

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Created

Date Created
2019-05

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Individual Differences in False Memory: Why are Some People Prone to False Remembering?

Description

Although it has recently been demonstrated that source monitoring (SM) processes may mediate the relationship between working memory (WM) and false memories, little research has investigated whether the quality of monitoring processes can account for this reduction. In the current

Although it has recently been demonstrated that source monitoring (SM) processes may mediate the relationship between working memory (WM) and false memories, little research has investigated whether the quality of monitoring processes can account for this reduction. In the current study, participants performed multiple false memory, WM, and SM tasks. Consistent with previous research, SM abilities mediated the relationship between WM and false memories (regardless of whether or not participants were warned of the illusions at encoding). High SM individuals were better able to recall contextual information from study to correctly reject lures, whereas low SM individuals were more likely to rely on the quality of retrieved details to reject lures. These results suggest that individuals low and high in SM abilities rely on qualitatively different monitoring processes to reduce errors, and that individual differences in diagnostic monitoring strategies may account for previous relationships found between WM and false memories.

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2019-05

Attention and Memory Problems in Everyday Life Among Young Adult Cannabis Users

Description

The need to fully understand the possible consequences of young-adult cannabis use has become increasingly critical as a result of major cannabis policy changes. The purpose of this study was to determine if young-adult users exhibit cognitive deficits on laboratory-based

The need to fully understand the possible consequences of young-adult cannabis use has become increasingly critical as a result of major cannabis policy changes. The purpose of this study was to determine if young-adult users exhibit cognitive deficits on laboratory-based tests and memory and attention deficits in everyday life. Participants were 152 students from a large U.S. university enrolled in introductory psychology courses and the top and bottom 10% of the 12-item Yale University PRIME Screening Test for psychotic-like experiences. Participants were asked about their cannabis use and were given six cognitive tests spanning executive function and memory. To test functional impairment in memory and attention, participants were asked to nominate informants (people who knew them well) and these rated the participants on an attention problems scale of four items and a memory problems scale of three items. Results showed that individuals who used cannabis more frequently were rated as having more attention and memory problems and that, consistent with prior research, more frequent cannabis use was associated with worse memory test performance, though the association was not present between frequency of use and executive function test performance. Additionally, it was found that informant-reported attention problems were associated with poorer performance on two of the executive function cognitive tests. The present findings suggest that individuals who use cannabis more frequently experience noticeable memory and attention problems in everyday life, despite the lack of significant correlation between this functional impairment and cognitive test performance. Informant reports, therefore, may be useful in future research for understanding or predicting cognitive impairment in young adults.

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2016-12