Old Dogs Do Have Trouble Learning New Tricks — Can They Teach Us About Dementia?


University of Kentucky’s Elizabeth Head discusses her research into learning in elderly beagles who, unlike mice and rats, can seemingly develop dementia like humans.

“When an older dog has cognitive problems, we may see them as changes in behavior that can be disruptive to the relationship between owners and pets,” writes Head in The Conversation. “For example, an old dog with cognitive problems may forget to signal to go outside, may be up at night and sleep all day, or have trouble recognizing people or other pets in the family. This is similar to a person with Alzheimerā€™s disease who may have difficulty communicating, disrupted sleep/wake cycles and trouble remembering family and friends.”

What can beagles teach us about Alzheimerā€™s disease? (The Conversation, January 8, 2015)