Starvation-induced Changes in Memory Sensitization, Habituation and Psychosomatic Responses

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O. N. Ilochi
T. A. Kolawole
B. O. Oluwatayo
A. N. Chuemere


Starvation is a global challenge. Nutritional status of an organism may influence its psychosocial behavior and other nervous system processes like motor responses and its ability to learn and memorize.  This study determined the impact of starvation-induced stress on memory sensitization, habituation and psychosomatic responses in an experimental animal design. 25 wistar rats were randomly sampled and grouped into 1-control, 2- feed after 6 hours deprivation, 3-feed after12 hours deprivation, 4-feed after 18 hours deprivation and 5-feed after 24 hours deprivation. Behavioral tests carried out included the multiple maze tests and elevated plus maze test. Grip strength test was performed to determine neuromuscular response and endurance in all groups. Biochemical investigation of brain stress markers was done on the last day of the study. There was a significant (P≤0.05) enhancement in memory processes and anxiolytic behavior after 6 hours feed deprivation. An increase in antioxidants after 6 hours feed deprivation was suspected to be a compensatory response. A progressive decrease in memory facilitation, anxiolytic behavior and muscular strength was reported after 12, 18 and 24 hours feed deprivation. The increase in habituation and decrease in psychosomatic response was observed and appreciated as the duration of feed deprivation was increased. This study provided evidence about a possible link between memory processes and stress-related alterations in calcium, magnesium and nitric oxide. Starvation may impair learning, memory and motor responses, but this tendency is dependent on the extent of feed deprivation and nutrient depletion.

Starvation, behavior, memory, anxiolytic, stress

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Ilochi, O. N., Kolawole, T. A., Oluwatayo, B. O., & Chuemere, A. N. (2019). Starvation-induced Changes in Memory Sensitization, Habituation and Psychosomatic Responses. International Journal of TROPICAL DISEASE & Health, 35(3), 1-7.
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