Christopher J. Heath

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An increasingly popular method of assessing cognitive functions in rodents is the automated touchscreen platform, on which a number of different cognitive tests can be run in a manner very similar to touchscreen methods currently used to test human subjects. This methodology is low stress (using appetitive rather than aversive reinforcement), has high(More)
Prenatal exposure to maternal smoking has been linked to cognitive and auditory processing deficits in offspring. Preclinical studies have demonstrated that exposure to nicotine disrupts neurodevelopment during gestation and adolescence, possibly by disrupting the trophic effects of acetylcholine. Given recent clinical and preclinical work suggesting that(More)
The automated touchscreen operant chamber for rats and mice allows for the assessment of multiple cognitive domains within the same testing environment. This protocol presents the location discrimination (LD) task and the trial-unique delayed nonmatching-to-location (TUNL) task, which both assess memory for location. During these tasks, animals are trained(More)
Extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) is activated in vivo in a number of brain areas by nicotine and other drugs of abuse. Here we show that nicotine stimulation of cultured mouse cortical neurons leads to a robust induction of ERK phosphorylation that is dependent on nicotine concentration and duration of exposure. Calcium/calmodulin-dependent(More)
BACKGROUND Exposure to nicotine in tobacco smoke during development has been linked to subsequent deficits in attention and memory. The present study tested for evidence that genetic variation may contribute to individual differences in vulnerability to the effects of developmental exposure to tobacco smoke on memory and medial temporal lobe function in(More)
Touchscreens are widely used to examine rodent cognition. Current paradigms require animals to view stimuli and nose poke at an appropriate touchscreen location. After responding, there is little screen interaction and, as infra-red touchscreens eliminate the need for physical contact, minimal somatosensory feedback. It is therefore unclear if touchscreens(More)
The NEWMEDS initiative (Novel Methods leading to New Medications in Depression and Schizophrenia, http://www.newmeds-europe.com ) is a large industrial-academic collaborative project aimed at developing new methods for drug discovery for schizophrenia. As part of this project, Work package 2 (WP02) has developed and validated a comprehensive battery of(More)
The hippocampus is implicated in many of the cognitive impairments observed in conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and schizophrenia (SCZ). Often, mice are the species of choice for models of these diseases and the study of the relationship between brain and behaviour more generally. Thus, automated and efficient hippocampal-sensitive cognitive(More)