Does Developmental Vitamin D deficiency impair cognition in adult offspring?
We are also interested in understanding how a known risk factor for schizophrenia “Maternal Vitamin D Deficiency” changes brain function and ultimately behaviour. Impairments in cognition remain the most debilitating and least treatable symptom within this disease. An ongoing NHMRC Project Grant allows us to dissect the exact neural pathways involved in cognitive impairments.
To date we have shown that maternal vitamin D deficiency leads to impaired behaviour in adult offspring on tasks that assess attention and vigilance, which are analagous to human continuous performance studies. These results may provide specific targets to further investigate the influence of low pre-natal vitamin D on brain function. This work is leading to the development and validation of novel cognitive tasks to explore cognition in laboratory animals.