Cardiac arrest may hinder ability to learn certain tasks

m was and could swim to it directly regardless of where the mouse was placed in the tank.

All of the mice were reintroduced to the maze about a week after surgery. The researchers left the platform in the same place as it had been prior to the surgeries because they wanted to know if the animals had remembered where the platform was. None of the mice had problems locating the platform.

That changed, however, when the researchers moved the platform from its original position to the opposite side of the tank.

"While the mice in the cardiac arrest group had no trouble locating the platform in its original position, their ability to learn the platform's new location was hindered," DeVries said.

The animals were tested three times a day for three days. By the last day of these tests, the mice in the cardiac arrest group swam an average of two meters more than did the control mice in their search for the platform.

"The mice now had to learn a new strategy for finding the platform, and the mice in the cardiac arrest group weren't able to adapt," DeVries said.

The researchers wanted to see how cardiac arrest had affected neurons in the mouse hippocampus. They looked specifically at dendritic spines projections from neurons involved in sending signal throughout the central nervous system and the body.

There was an overall 18 percent decrease in dendritic spine density in the hippocampus in the cardiac arrest mice compared to the control mice, a finding that represents a functionally significant loss, DeVries said.

"Similar decreases in dendritic spine density have been associated with altered behavioral outcomes, such as changes in performance in spatial memory tasks," she said. "This decrease in the number of dendritic spines may have had a direct effect on the performance of the cardiac arrest group.

"Most people who s

Contact: Courtney DeVries
Ohio State University

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