Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Wallace, Douglas G.

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Dementia of the Alzheimer’s type is the most common form of dementia, affecting millions of people worldwide. Specific genetic mutations increase Alzheimer’s disease-related neuropathology and cognitive impairments. Deficits are observed in spatial orientation throughout the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, including wandering behavior or becoming lost in a familiar environment. Dementia of the Alzheimer’s type patients also exhibit disruptions in radial optic flow, which underlies self-movement cue processing. Currently, no treatments exist for Alzheimer’s disease. Genetic mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease have been developed to investigate the disease onset and progression and, further, to evaluate potential therapies and behavioral assessments. As of yet, no studies have used a detailed analysis to examine spatial orientation in genetic mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease. The current set of studies examined the use of different sources of information to maintain spatial orientation in a genetic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease throughout development. Persistent deficits were observed in self-movement cue processing across development, whereas compensation was observed when access was provided to environmental cues. This is the earliest deficit reported in spatial orientation in TgCRND8 mice, as well as the first document of impaired self-movement cue processing. The results of this work establish a new behavioral tool to characterize spatial orientation deficits associated with genetic mouse models, which may accelerate future assessments of novel therapeutic interventions for neurological disorders.


137 pages




Northern Illinois University

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