To view an abstract, select an author from the vertical list on the left.
2016 Grants - Franklin
Understanding the Neural Basis for Social Deficits in Alzheimer’s Disease
Tamara Brook Franklin, Ph.D.
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
2016 Mentored New Investigator Research Grant to Promote Diversity
What are the specific brain changes that underlie the social/behavioral symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease?
Approximately one quarter of people with Alzheimer’s disease experience behavioral symptoms including social withdrawal and/or aggression. These challenging behaviors can significantly contribute to family and caregiver burden. Aggressive behaviors can compromise the safety of affected individuals and their caregivers and contribute to repeated hospitalizations. While social withdrawal and aggression are well documented in people living with Alzheimer’s disease, less is known about the specific underlying brain changes that may contribute to these symptoms.
Tamara Brook Franklin, Ph.D. is using the natural social behavior of Alzheimer’s-like mice to better understand the brain changes that underlie aggression or social withdrawal. The researchers will fully characterize the social behaviors of Alzheimer’s-like mice throughout disease progression. They will also use brain recordings to measure connectivity between regions of the brain that are important for decision making and social behavior. The recordings of these brain pathways will be taken during social interactions of both healthy and Alzheimer’s-like mice. Finally, Dr. Franklin will use recently-developed molecular tools to alter the activity of these pathways with the hope of reversing social difficulties observed in the Alzheimer’s-like mice.
This project will be the first to systematically assess social behaviors in an animal model of Alzheimer’s disease. The results of this work could shed new light on the biological mechanisms underlying social withdrawal and aggression in Alzheimer’s disease. Ultimately this work could help provide the foundation for the development of novel therapies to prevent or treat the challenging behavioral symptoms of Alzheimer’s and possibly reduce costs associated with hospitalizations or other health related issues.