Use of the Pyrithiamine-Induced Thiamine Deficient Animal Model of Korskoff s Syndrome for Exploratory Research Activities in Undergraduate Physiological Psychology

Robert W Flint, Jonathan E Hill, Leslie A Sandusky, Christina L Marino


Undergraduate neuroscience laboratory activities frequently focus on exercises that build students wetldry laboratory skills, foster critical thinking, and provide opportunities for hands-on experiences. Such activities are, without a doubt, extremely important, but sometimes fall short of modeling actual research and often lack the unknown hypothetical nature accompanying empirical studies. In this article we report a series of research activities using an animal model of Korsakoffs syndrome in a Physiological Psychology course. The activities involve testing hypotheses regarding performance of animals with experimentally-induced Korsakoffs syndrome and the effectiveness of glucose as a memory- enhancer in this model. Students were given a set of 24 articles for use in answering a series of laboratory report questions regarding the activities. At the conclusion of the course, students were asked to complete a questionnaire designed to assess the effectiveness of the laboratoryactivities. Results of the laboratory exercises indicated that locomotor activity, environmental habituation, and anxiety were unaffected in the Korsakoff condition, and glucose had no effect. Results of performance in the T- maze indicated that Korsakoff animals had significantly fewer spontaneous alternations than controls, but Korsakoff animals given glucose did not reveal this difference. Results of the student assessments indicated that the activities were considered educational, challenging, and more interesting than standard laboratory activities designed to reproduce reliable phenomena.

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