Monday, November 01, 2004

Prozac and baby mice: update

E-mail from Caltechgirl!
"Hi Shrinkette,
"I do research on GABA and stress in development and schizophrenia, a lot of which is behavioral. The task they used in the study is called an elevated plus maze, and it measures fearfulness in rodents. If you've ever seen a mouse in your house, you know that rats and mice like to hide, stay out of the light (being nocturnal) and will stay close to the edges of the room. Rodents that are more fearful will enter the unfamiliar arms of the maze less often. This test has been validated in a number of animal models, and in many cases if you give SSRIs etc., the animals act "less fearful".

"You are absolutely correct to question the leap from animal behavior to emotion. Good behavioral scientists will refrain from anthropomorphizing their animals and over-interpreting their results in this way.

"About the results: Well, it's not surprising. We know a lot of other psychoactive drugs have serious effects on fetal and neonatal development. Specifically, pups who have been exposed to benzodiazepines have CNS abnormalities and altered response to stress. In fact several fetal manipulations have been shown to "reset" the stress response in young animals.

"If you're interested in more studies about psychoactive drugs and fetal/neonatal development, I can send you some references." Yes, please, do! And thanks for writing!

I was very sad to disable comments on this blog, but I can't sweep graffiti away fast enough, so I thank those who e-mail me.
Click for Eugene, Oregon Forecast