Effects of Pregnancy: Better Spatial Memory Habituation: Days 1-4Tests: days 5-8 Measures: Latency to approach baited and non-baited wells, number of baited and non- baited wells visited, latency to eat first/only Froot Loop, total time to find and eat all FLs, number of FLs found and eaten
Effects of Pregnancy: Mothers are less likely to suffer from Alzheimers VirginsMothers
Effects of Pregnancy: Mothers suffering TBI outperform Control Virgins at memory tasks Virgin KA Mother KA
And then there was prospective memory… (and it was good)
What IS Prospective Memory? Types of Memory Working Memory – actively trying to remember something Retrospective – recalling event from the past Prospective – the anticipation of future events
What do RATS have to remember? Retrospective: Where are the best places to find food? How do I get back to my nest? Prospective: Remember to maximize my foraging so that I have enough food to survive drought conditions
Mothers vs. Non-Mothers Given: Reproductive experience modifies a host of behavioral, neurobiological and physiological features. We hypothesize that it is evolutionarily advantageous for mothers to remember to forage more efficiently in order to better care for their young
Experimental Design 1. Mother, Virgin, and Male rats are deprived of water for 16 hours 2. They are then placed in an Open Field Maze (OFM) for 30 minutes and allowed to forage for water Rat in the Open Field Maze
Experimental Design 1. Next, rats are placed back into their home cage where: Control rats have water Experimental rats do NOT have water 2. After returning to the home cage, rats are placed back into the open field maze. 3. If the rats are using prospective memory, experimental rats should spend more time drinking in the maze than the control rats.
Data Suggest That Mother Rats (Primiparous Females) Are Utilizing Prospective Memory Time Spent DrinkingLatency To Find Water Mothers spend more time drinking than other groups p = 0.03; n = 6; Mean + SEM No significance w/in groups n = 6; Mean + SEM
Preliminary Conclusions I Male and Virgin rats did NOT demonstrate prospective memory Regardless of condition, males and virgins spent the same time drinking while in the OFM
Preliminary Conclusions II Mother rats demonstrated prospective memory Experimental moms drank more water in the OFM – indicating that they knew that there would not be water in the home cage Control moms drank less – indicating that they knew water was going to be available in their home cage. Why the difference between groups?
Current/Future Directions Investigate the brain! Where is the brain activated during prospective memory? cfos activationno cfos activation