Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How to measure attention span of a fly: Implications for ADHD, autism in humans

Date:
January 26, 2010
Source:
Freie Universitaet Berlin
Summary:
An Australian-German team of scientists has found a way to measure the attention span of a fly. The findings could lead to further advances in the understanding of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism in humans.

Common fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster).
Credit: iStockphoto

An Australian-German team of scientists at Freie Universität and the Queensland Brain Institute in Brisbane, Australia, has found a way to measure the attention span of a fly. The findings could lead to further advances in the understanding of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism in humans.

Related Articles


Associate Professor Bruno van Swinderen at the Queensland Brain Institute in Brisbane and Dr. Björn Brembs at Freie Universität combined genetic techniques with brain recordings and behavioral testing. They found different mutations that either increase or decrease a fly's attention span.

Using the genetic fruit fly model, Drosophila melanogaster, van Swinderen found that a fly's level of distractibility is finely tuned to allow "normal" behavioral responses to a constantly changing environment. He said, "We now have the two ends of an attention spectrum in our model. We have a fly memory mutant that is hard to distract and another fly memory mutant that's too distractible. They both have the same result -- they don't learn well but for completely different reasons, not unlike human patients afflicted with autism and ADHD."

The fruit flies were fed methylphenidate, which is sold under the brand name Ritalin and is used to treat patients with ADHD. The researchers found the drug had similar effects on fruit flies as it did on people: it helped the distractible flies to pay attention to visual stimuli.

"It suggests there may be similar pathways in the brains of fruit flies and humans, which means we now have a simple reductionist model, with all the genetic tools that go along with it, to try to understand what exactly this drug is doing," according to van Swinderen.

Heisenberg fellow Brembs agrees: "These surprising parallels between insects and humans may point to a general, common functional organization of brains."

The research is reported in the Journal of Neuroscience.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Freie Universitaet Berlin. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bruno van Swinderen, Björn Brembs. Attention-Like Deficit and Hyperactivity in a Drosophila Memory Mutant. Journal of Neuroscience, 2010; 30 (3): 1003 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4516-09.2010

Cite This Page:

Freie Universitaet Berlin. "How to measure attention span of a fly: Implications for ADHD, autism in humans." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100126084127.htm>.
Freie Universitaet Berlin. (2010, January 26). How to measure attention span of a fly: Implications for ADHD, autism in humans. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100126084127.htm
Freie Universitaet Berlin. "How to measure attention span of a fly: Implications for ADHD, autism in humans." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100126084127.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins