The use of touchscreen technology to evaluate cognitive deficits in animal models has grown tremendously over the past 20 years. The touchscreen apparatus encompasses many advantages, namely a high level of standardization and translational capability. Improvements in technology in recent years have expanded the versatility of the touchscreen platform, as it is able to test distinct cognitive modalities including working memory, attention, discrimination, and association. Importantly, touchscreen technology has allowed researchers to explore deficits in multiple pillars of cognition in a wide variety of perinatal disorders with neurological sequelae across critical developmental windows. The touchscreen platform has been used to dissect deficits in antenatal CNS injury including fetal alcohol syndrome, prenatal opioid exposure, and chorioamnionitis, to peripartum insults such as term hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, to early postnatal insults including infantile traumatic brain injury. Most importantly, touchscreen technology offers the sensitivity necessary to detect subtle injury and treatment-induced changes in cognition and executive function beyond those offered by more rudimentary tests of rodent cognition. Understanding the pathophysiology of these disorders in rodents is paramount to addressing these deficits in human infants and dissecting the neural circuitry essential to perinatal brain injury pathophysiology and responsiveness to novel therapeutics. Touchscreen testing provides an effective, facile sophisticated technique to accelerate the goal of improving cognitive and behavioral outcomes of children who suffer perinatal brain injury.
Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.