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Drug effects on learning and memory

Chapter

Abstract

It is easily understood that behavioral psychopharmacology faced with the task of dealing with extremely complex behavioral disturbances of the elderly certainly has difficulties in designing up appropriate analogue models in experimental animals for human aging or the deficits occurring during human aging. One of the major problems for experimental behavioral pharmacology is whether or not old animals are the appropriate models. At the first view it seems obvious that the study of potential geronto-psychopharmacologic drugs should be performed in old animals. However, the problem is much more complicated. Laboratory animals are not a homogenous population, especially when old. Most of these old animals who are one third survivors of a population have an individually different pathological history which is mostly unknown to the investigators. Some animals may be arthritic others may have bronchitis or cardiac deficiencies. If, for example, an arthritic rat is given a performance task associated with lever pressing, the animals may fail because of his rigid and painful joints and not because of a brain deficit or of the ineffectiveness of the test compound. Similar effects can be observed with old animals having a cataract in a visual discrimination task. Failure to perform a task may even be the result of both central and peripheral disturbances. Consequently it is impossible to describe the failure of one animal to perform the task to deficits in some parts of the brain or to pathological changes in the body.

Keywords

Muscarinic Receptor Passive Avoidance Inhibitory Avoidance Dark Compartment Nicotinic Cholinergic Receptor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität FrankfurtFrankfurt am MainGermany
  2. 2.Philipps Universität MarburgMarburgGermany
  3. 3.Department of Pharmacology Jefferson Medical CollegeThomas Jefferson UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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