Among the wide range of tests for laboratory animal behavior after neurological injury or disease, each has its benefits and drawbacks. The varied behavior that an animal exhibits makes it difficult to decide which test to use. However, a fundamental instinct for the laboratory animal is to explore when placed in a new environment. A way to test exploratory behavior is in the open field. Here, we introduce a simple activity box without the use of video equipment to determine the exploratory movement of a rat after traumatic brain injury. The activity box is an open field, and the rat explores its surroundings when placed inside. Four infrared beams are placed in both the X and Y-axes inside the box. Using a novel system to determine which beam the rat breaks, one can describe where the rat is in space and time while in the activity box. Other models can show the number of beams broken, but here we analyze the results additionally to determine the area explored, the total distance traveled by the rat, and the percent of time exploring.


This is the author accepted manuscript of Koob AO, Cirillo J, Babbs CF, A novel open field activity detector to determine spatial and temporal movement of laboratory animals after injury and disease, J Neurosci Methods, 30;157(2):330-6, Oct 2006. Copyright Elsevier, it is made available here CC-BY-NC-ND, and the version of record is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneumeth.2006.04.020.

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