Navigation Links
Follow that fish!
Date:5/13/2014

New findings published by researchers at the New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering are helping to unravel the complex interplay between alcohol and social behavior and may lead to new therapies for mitigating the negative impacts of alcohol use and abuse. Their experiments, published in the current issue of Alcohol: Clinical and Experimental Research, center not on patrons at a local happy hour, but on far simpler creatures: zebrafish.

A team led by Maurizio Porfiri, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and director of the school's Dynamical Systems Laboratory, overturned the traditional experimental paradigm for alcohol-related studies, in which all subjects are exposed and their behavior and movements analyzed. Instead, the NYU School of Engineering researchers devised an original method that would allow for detailed tracking of a single, alcohol-exposed zebrafish amid a school of "sober" peers.

The research team comprised NYU School of Engineering Research Scholar Fabrizio Ladu and Postdoctoral Fellow Sachit Butail, along with Visiting Scientist Simone Macr, Ph.D., of the Istituto Superiore di Sanit in Rome, Italy.

They posited that an individual's response to alcohol would vary based on the presence or absence of unexposed peers. What they did not anticipate, however, was the remarkable effect the alcohol-exposed fish would have on unexposed shoalmates.

Porfiri and his colleagues designed an experimental procedure in which a single zebrafish was exposed to four concentrations of ethanol in water, ranging from zero to high. (This is called acute exposure and poses no harm to the fish.) Following exposure, the fish was released into a group of untreated zebrafish. To the researchers' knowledge, this is the first experiment to allow ethanol-exposed and untreated zebrafish to swim freely together. A custom tracking algorithm developed by the team allowed the researchers to follow for the first time individual fish throughout the experiment as well as analyze group behavior.

Previous studies show alcohol exposure affects zebrafish locomotionat low concentrations, fish tend to swim faster, and as the dose increases, swimming typically slows. Alcohol can also negatively impact the school's cohesion.

In Porfiri's trials, the single exposed zebrafish showed changes in locomotion when observed alone consistent to those predicted by independent studies in the past. In a group setting, however, the zebrafish behavior was remarkably different: Fish exposed to intermediate or high alcohol concentrations nearly doubled their swimming speeds, suggesting that the presence of peers had a substantial impact on social behavior under the influence of alcohol.

Most remarkably, the unexposed fish also modulated their behavior and swimming speeds differentially in the presence of a shoalmate exposed to different levels of alcohol.

"These results were very surprising," explained Porfiri. "It is clear that the untreated fish were matching the swimming speed of the alcohol-exposed fish, and this correlation was especially strong at an intermediate level of alcohol exposure. At very high or low levels, the influence decreases."

Porfiri believes that one explanation for the high-speed swimming of the exposed individual may be hyper-reactivity to an enriched environmentthe tank containing shoalmates. Alcohol has also been shown to decrease inhibitory behavior in zebrafish. The increased speed may therefore also reflect a heightened interest in interacting with shoalmates. Regardless, this deviation from expected behavior is highly significant, as it points to the ability of social stimuli (the untreated shoalmates) to change an individual's response to alcohol.

The ability of alcohol-exposed zebrafish to influence untreated shoalmates may constitute a form of leadership, but researchers caution that aggressive, risk-taking behaviorscommon under the disinhibitory effects of alcohol may resemble leadership behavior patterns in this species.

"This research integrates rigorous principles from engineering and biology to develop an experiment that sheds light on the complex interactions among individuals in a group, their individuality and their collective behavior," said Massimo Ruzzene, NSF program director for the Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation. "Analysis of complex dynamical systems is an important area of research. An understanding of complex systems, ranging from smart robots that assist in surgery to manufacturing enterprises and emergency response teams, is integral to our ability to respond effectively to emerging challenges and opportunities."

Porfiri and his team believe that the methodology developed for these experiments holds tremendous promise for future studies on the social determinants of individual responses to alcohol. By dissociating sociality from exposure, the researchers were able to study, for the first time in this species, how the impact of alcohol on behavior can be shaped by social environments. Future studies will focus on determining the degree to which social influence exerted by exposed or unexposed individuals is affected by group size.

Ultimately, the researchers hold that this line of inquiry may advance understanding of how social interactions magnify or mitigate negative effects of alcohol abuse, such as destructive behavior, and could lead to therapies to reduce the same.


'/>"/>

Contact: Kathleen Hamilton
kathleen.hamilton@nyu.edu
718-260-3792
New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. Therapy sought to reduce major risk from minor bleeding that can follow stroke
2. Outcomes of steroid therapy following surgery for infants with bile duct disorder
3. Many parents dont follow safe infant sleep practices
4. Following a proteins travel inside cells is key to improving patient monitoring, drug development
5. Scientists discover a new way to enhance nerve growth following injury
6. Medication does not help prevent ED following radiation therapy for prostate cancer
7. Patients with metabolic disorder may face higher complication risk following total joint replacement
8. Major League Baseball players win more games following Tommy John surgery
9. Is therapeutic hypothermia beneficial in all patients following cardiac arrest?
10. High potency statins linked to better outcome following a heart attack
11. Columbia study finds hospitals dont follow infection prevention rules
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Follow that fish!
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... March 23, 2017 , ... Hakim Unique Group (HUG) ... company California Healthcom Group (CHG). , The HUG investment is a landmark ... in California, CHG is a growing, internationally recognized healthcare management, technology, and services ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... March 23, 2017 , ... The TouchPoint Solution, home of Buzzies ... stress and anxiety. , “Buzzies change the way we interact with stress and ... , Since its launch date in December 2016, The TouchPoint Solution has sold more ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... March 23, 2017 , ... March 23, 2017 ... organizations to easily reprint customer invoices, bills, statements and other correspondence when they ... steps needed to retrieve and print the documents and batch them for efficient ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... March 23, 2017 , ... Altec Products, ... Resource Group as their 2016 Microsoft Dynamics Partner of the Year at ... The award recognizes The Resource Group for their outstanding relationship with Altec ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... March 23, 2017 , ... ChenMed, a privately owned ... of the strategic executive team expansion needed to further optimize growth and performance. ... team,” says Christopher Chen, MD, ChenMed Chief Executive Officer. “George Wheeler and ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:3/23/2017)... , March 23, 2017   BioSpace , ... resource, has partnered with Indiana Biosciences Research Institute ... organizations and educational institutions to bring the state,s ... first-ever BioIndiana Hotbed map, an artistic representation of the ... was presented to Vice President Mike Pence , ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... , Mar. 23, 2017 Research and ... Devices Market 2017-2021" report to their offering. ... The global oxygen therapy devices ... 2017-2021. The report, Global Oxygen Therapy Devices Market ... inputs from industry experts. The report covers the market landscape and ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... 23, 2017 A research report by ... expected to reach USD 7.2 billion by the end of ... is a procedure in which a sample is preserved prior ... analytical procedures since the methods are often allowing repeated testing. ... the most shared procedures in the lab. In many life ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: