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Characterization of a Concussion Model in Drosophila

Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) affect millions of people in the United States every year. Some go undiagnosed, untreated, mistreated, or become repetitive. This leaves many with increased risk of neurodegenerative disorders such as CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy), Alzhemirs, and Parkinson's Disease. Many doctors and researchers struggle to treat and cure such diseases due to unknown reasoning of human TAU build up. This can only be seen in the brain after death. By experimenting and creating an animal model for repeated concussion we can see the potential effects on Drosophila by testing behavior, function, and through brain dissection. To model concussion the flies were separated into groups and the TBI machine was used to inflict 3 concussions over a seven day period. After each concussion the RING method was used to test behavior and function of the flies as well as before the concussion. After the concussions were complete the brains were dissected and fixated for brain imagery for visual analysis. Thus far the results have indicated that the flies survival rate is about 50% when receiving 3 concussions and their behavior and function is negatively affected. The rest of the results for RING and brain imagery will be presented at CURCA. As an athlete that has received multiple concussions myself, it motivates me to work towards the goal of creating this model. This model could open new doors on how to understand concussions and the effects of them much better than we did prior by seeing it through an animal and help prevent neurodegeneration.

Alexa Bergeron '23     
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