PTSD relief

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PTSD relief

Postby pinkpepsi » Mon Nov 05, 2012 12:10 am

Hello!
A partner and I are currently at the start in a project finding potential ways to alleviate patients with PTSD. We are conducting our experiment with the helps of lab mice and are going to expose them to the scent of jasmine. Now we have researched and found that the hippocampus of the brain strengthens memories during sleep since the conscious control of thought is lacked during rest. We decided to expose the scent of jasmine to the mice followed by a footshock, or supposedly a footshock. However, this is where our problem lies. A professional footshock device for mice is off limits for highschoolers, and therefore toublesome for us to continue. The footshock is to act as a traumatic experience to let the mice know that every time they sense jasmine, they know a footshock is to be followed. However, this obstacle stops us from experimenting with different exposures to the mice as we have no way of stimulating it safely without harming it. Please, any advice is welcomed; it could even be a small house project I'm willing to do. Thanks in advance!
Last edited by pinkpepsi on Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
pinkpepsi
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:12 pm
Occupation: Student; 10th grade
Project Question: Can dietary, herbal, and artificial changes lower the traumatic memories of PTSD patients? These include exposure to mugworts, Himalayan salt lamps, as well as calcium supplements in daily diet.
Project Due Date: March 2013
Project Status: I am conducting my research

Re: PTSD relief

Postby tyber » Wed Nov 07, 2012 3:53 pm

Dear Pinkpepsi,
This is a great idea! Being a combat veteran myself, I appreciate the idea and the potential implications of your research. As far as stimuli go, the study of painful memories can be correlated regular memory such as hunger. (Ever hear of Pavlov's dog?) He was a psychologist who studied something very similar to your idea, using stimuli to associate memories. So basically what I am trying to say is you don't have to use painful stimuli, since you are using mice, their associations for memory are not as complex as ours. What you could do is to create a baseline using one type of stimuli and then treat with a different one and measure the time frame and amount of stimuli it takes to reverse the effects of the initial stimuli. (two types of scents or water and a scent or light and a scent)

Tyber
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Re: PTSD relief

Postby heatherL » Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:14 am

Hi Pinkpepsi,

You have a very interesting and relevant project idea. Tyber has already given you some great advice. I'd like to offer you some ideas for what you might be able to do with the resources you have.

One idea is to use heart rate as a proxy (alternative way to measure) for emotional state of the mice. Take a look at this Science Buddies project to understand how that would work: http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... p024.shtml. If you have a way to measure the mice's heart rate, you could see whether the scent of jasmine lowers their heart rate, which could indicate that it is helping them to relax.

Another idea is to try to use jasmine in some form of conditioning. Check out this web site to see the difference between Classical Conditioning (what Tyber described) and Operant Conditioning (used in training animals): http://psychology.about.com/od/behavior ... ioning.htm

Let us know what interests you, and we'll help you develop a great project!

Heather
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Re: PTSD relief

Postby pinkpepsi » Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:19 pm

Thank you for your inputs. However, I may have shortened out on a little bit of procedures.

The use of jasmine is actually kinda of like an indicator for us to make sure that the mice is surely in a traumatic state. Once we expose the scent to them, we expect for it to be stimulated by it and re-experience or remember the feelings of a footshock(supposely). After that, we are to test the mice with three different approaches of dietary intake of calcium, exposure to negative ions to purify air intake, as well as contact with an herbal plant known as Mugworts. The Mugworts has a history of being used in Asia as a herbal medicine used to increase blood flow, which actually may tie back to your kinda previous suggestions of heart rate stimuli. Calcium supplements, we predict, may affect possible reinforcement of the proteins in the brain (hippocampus). Lastly, the Himalayan salt lamp is to produce and release negative ions in the air which purifies and rid of pollution in the air. These charged ions have also proven to be beneficial to strengthen autonomic nerves as well as increased metabolism. We will have a experiment size of 4 mice per category with one additional set as a control group with no manipulation of its condition.

I hope this cleared up some confusion on how I am actually planning to execute my project! Again any feedback is highly appreciated and thank you Tyber and heatherL for suggesting your previous comment!
Thanks again!
pinkpepsi
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:12 pm
Occupation: Student; 10th grade
Project Question: Can dietary, herbal, and artificial changes lower the traumatic memories of PTSD patients? These include exposure to mugworts, Himalayan salt lamps, as well as calcium supplements in daily diet.
Project Due Date: March 2013
Project Status: I am conducting my research

Re: PTSD relief

Postby heatherL » Sun Nov 11, 2012 9:01 am

Hi pinkpepsi,

Thank you for clarifying your procedures. As I understand it now, you are hoping to use operant conditioning to associate the scent of jasmine with trauma, and then investigate the ability of various substances to relieve the traumatic feelings for the mice. I think you need to keep a few things in mind as you design your experiment.

(1) Science fairs have strict guidelines regarding the use of vertebrate animals. You may not be able to inflict any sort of pain on the mice, including footshock. As Tyber mentioned, you may not have to use a painful stimulus to conduct your experiment. He mentioned the use of hunger (as with Pavlov's dog) for operant conditioning. Have you considered some sort of stimulus that induces a startle response?

(2) You are testing three different substances that are thought to have very different mechanisms of action, and you plan to use 4 mice per treatment group. Have you considered testing one substance (possibly chosen based on your background research) more thoroughly, with more mice in each treatment group (control vs. experimental)? With only 4 mice in each group, you may have trouble interpreting your results.

(3) Finally, it is unclear to me what you are planning to measure to see whether each substance is working to soothe the mice. What is your dependent variable here?

Heather
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Re: PTSD relief

Postby pinkpepsi » Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:49 pm

Hi, sorry if my procedures seem unclear and questionable. This is my first year doing science fair and haven't gotten all steps down yet.

Here are the answers to your questions in order:
1. I am aware that vertebrates and test subjects are not to be harmed in anyway. I was informed so when I presented my proposal to my teacher mentor. And because of this, this leads back to the main question of this forum topic. I want to know substitute methods to stimulate lab mice for our experiment. Like Tyber said, I am aware of his suggestion to use hunger for operant conditioning. However, I am not clear how we can determain whether our variables are effective to it. Since we're are feeding it calcium supplements, wouldn't that defeat the purpose of hunger stimulant?

2. Yes we have considered but I am not sure if we are capable of how far we can deepen our research. In the beginning brainstorming processes of our experiment, we saw Himalayan salt lamp effects to be the most significant. However, like you have mentioned before, we are unable to harm the vertebrate in any ways. Therefore, just based our external observations, thorough research may be limited. However, if you have any suggestions, please do not hesitate to tell us.

3. The dependent variable would be whether or not the mice was still stimulated by the scent of jasmine after its exposure to the independent variables.

As mentioned, this is the first event we have done with science fair and we are still inexperienced. However, I believe everyone great was once like us. I highly appreciate any feedback/input from anyone. Thank you heather especially for asking us these crucial questions about our experiment. We have noticed our weaknesses.
pinkpepsi
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:12 pm
Occupation: Student; 10th grade
Project Question: Can dietary, herbal, and artificial changes lower the traumatic memories of PTSD patients? These include exposure to mugworts, Himalayan salt lamps, as well as calcium supplements in daily diet.
Project Due Date: March 2013
Project Status: I am conducting my research

Re: PTSD relief

Postby heatherL » Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:47 am

Hi pinkpepsi,

What is critical here is that you come up with some clear methods and a clear measurement of "stimulation" in the mice.

I recommend using a startle response as your negative association with jasmine, and I think using heart rate as your dependent variable may help. You will need to figure out what elicits a reliable startle response in mice (a loud noise, a quick movement of the cage, etc.). Once you have figured out what makes all of your mice become startled, you can pair that stimulus (the startling stimulus) with jasmine.

To measure heart rate in the mice, you may have to get creative. However, it appears that you can measure heart rate in their tails. I suggest an internet search for "measuring heart rate in mice." Here is one source I found: http://www.cmhd.ca/protocols/enu_pdf/Mo ... 20Rate.pdf

As I mentioned before, you could use heart rate as your proxy for stress in the mice. The heart rate should increase with the startle response (and then with the jasmine, once paired). You can see if your different substances cause the heart rate to decrease after the stimulus more quickly than the control (no soothing substance). If a substance causes the heart rate to recover toward rest faster than the control, you may have something that could help with PTSD.

Let me know if this makes sense.

Heather
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Re: PTSD relief

Postby pinkpepsi » Sun Dec 02, 2012 11:40 pm

Hello heatherL

Thanks you so much for making it more clear to me of your suggested approached. I have definitely taken this and incorporated into our project. I am not going to lie, about two weeks ago, Synopsys SRC rebuffed our application due to potential harm to vertebrates. I was not surprise as previous replies have mentioned this potential detriment. However, in a way, I am glad to have had this opportunity to reconsider and enhance my experiment.
So yes, we are going to go ahead and change our stimulating method to a loud sound to our buzz to avoid any harms as well as base our dependent variable on the results of heart rate.

Thank you again and I sincerely apologize for taking so long to reply as I took a some time to research those you have suggested above and came to the better conclusion. I will follow up on further details as I progress.
Thank you all!
pinkpepsi
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:12 pm
Occupation: Student; 10th grade
Project Question: Can dietary, herbal, and artificial changes lower the traumatic memories of PTSD patients? These include exposure to mugworts, Himalayan salt lamps, as well as calcium supplements in daily diet.
Project Due Date: March 2013
Project Status: I am conducting my research

Re: PTSD relief

Postby heatherL » Mon Dec 03, 2012 7:53 am

Hi pinkpepsi,

I'm glad to hear that you have found a way to move ahead with your project, and look forward to an update on your progress!

Heather
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