There is a strong need for more relevant animal models that behave like humans to better understand how physiology is altered in analog environments (e.g., long-duration space flight). The free-living squirrel is one such candidate, as they are diurnal, non-hibernating mammals that engage in complex social and physical behaviors in a three-dimensional arboreal landscape. My interest focuses on the potential neuromodulatory countermeasures that could be realized during sleep, specifically, the closed-loop enhancement of slow-wave activity (or “deep sleep”). I will first show how squirrels sleep through a 6-year retrospective study on accelerometer data from the Canadian Yukon. Next, I will introduce a wireless, implantable bio-logger toolset I developed at Michigan to record neural activity and then present preliminary, first-of-their-kind data from freely behaving squirrels. Finally, I will describe my audio-based countermeasure deployment and my aims to measure its effect.
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