Event Details

Wednesday, 17 February 2016 - Wednesday, 17 February 2016
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
QBI Level 7 Auditorium
UQ Location:
Queensland Brain Institute (St Lucia)
Event category(s):

Event Contact

Ms Deirdre Wilson
3346 6300
Org. Unit:
Queensland Brain Institute

Event Description

Full Description:
Karly Turner of the Queensland Brain Institute, University of Queensland will host the following: "Measuring attention in rodents"


Cognitive deficits in neuropsychiatric disorders are often the most debilitating symptom, yet they remain largely untreated by current medications. To improve preclinical studies, tests used to measure cognitive abilities in rodents need to be further developed.

Therefore I aimed to establish and validate a novel task for assessing cognitive deficits in rodents.

The Signal Detection Task (SDT) was developed using components of existing rodent tasks and incorporating key features from human cognitive testing. During my PhD I demonstrated that the SDT has face, construct and predictive validity for measuring attention in rats. These studies have explored the role of the prefrontal cortex in task performance, as well as how attention is influenced by genetic and environmental factors. Importantly, I found that attention could be improved using low dose amphetamine, a mainstream treatment for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Furthermore, I found that individual response to treatment was correlated with baseline attentional performance, which has not been reported in rats but has been found in humans. In addition, dopamine metabolism in the striatum correlated with differences in attention in rats. Measuring cognitive enhancement in rodents has proved difficult for the field, however using the SDT I have been able to measure psychostimulant enhancement and neurochemical correlates of attentional deficits. These results generate novel hypotheses and provide a new tool for further examining mechanisms of attention in rodents.

Directions to UQ

Google Map:
To St Lucia Campus, UQ Ipswich, and UQ Gatton.

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