Nina S. Butingan


In her freshman year, Nina Butingan was inspired by a seminar, “Biology of the Mind,” that was offered by Dr. Frostig. As a result, she started working in Dr. Frostig’s lab the next year and eventually expressed interest in conducting her own project. The lab’s stroke protection studies are unique in that the neuro-protection provided from their treatment is complete—their animals behave and appear neurologically as intact as if they had not suffered a stroke. Nina’s project further questions the significance of the lab’s previous findings in a more clinically-relevant aged population of rats. Nina has continued to work in Dr. Frostig’s lab after her graduation in June 2012, and hopes to attend medical school.triangle.gif (504 bytes)




Our lab has demonstrated that single-whisker stimulation is completely protective of the young adult rodent cortex when administered within 0 to 2 hours following a permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (pMCAO). The results from this study, however, have yet to be tested in a more clinically-relevant aged group of animals. Research has suggested that the aged cortex is more vulnerable to stroke and less resilient in recovering from a vascular accident. In this study, single-whisker stimulation stroke treatment was assessed in the aged rodent cortex. Aged rats (21–24 months of age) were subject to a behavioral assessment a week prior to pMCAO and then divided into treated experimental and untreated control groups. A week following pMCAO, animals were again assessed behaviorally. According to behavioral and histological analysis, animals that received the treatment were equivalent to healthy control animals, while untreated controls showed impaired sensorimotor behavior following pMCAO and sustained cortical infarct. This suggests that mild sensory stimulation, in the form of a single-whisker treatment, is neuroprotective in the aged rodent model. Moreover, this suggests that translation of non-invasive treatments, such as cortical stimulation that could redirect blood flow to the appropriate brain areas, into the appropriate age-equivalent human population may indeed be possible.triangle.gif (504 bytes)

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Faculty Mentor                                                                                                                

Ron D. Frostig

   School of Biological Sciences   

The aged brain suffers from a bad reputation, especially when it comes to devastating problems like stroke. We have previously showed that mild sensory stimulation could completely protect the young-adult cortex of rats from an impending stroke. However, the major population vulnerable to stroke is the aged population. Using several techniques, the paper by Nina Buttingen describes how the same mild sensory stimulation can also completely protect the aged cortex from impeding stroke, exactly like in young adults, despite its reputation. Taken together, this new non-pharmacological, non-invasive and no side-effects treatment holds much promise in helping stroke victims anywhere by first responders, even before the ambulance arrives. In my opinion, this paper is a great example of mentored research supported by UROP.triangle.gif (504 bytes)

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