The past few weeks really flew (pun intended) in the blink of an eye. When I last wrote to you all, I was explaining how I finally decided on studying the effects of Coca-Cola and Coke Zero on developmental memory. This is a topic that I am particularly passionate about because I am very interested in nutrition as well as how certain foods and beverages alter brain chemistry. Reading about the possible impacts of Coca-Cola products on memory made this project an easy pick for me. Now that I have my question, “Can consumption of Coca-Cola and Coke Zero impact developmental cognition?”, the next step was figuring out how to possibly find an answer. I decided to use the memory assay in order to gauge developmental memory. In order to complete the assay, the first thing I had to do was isolate 10 3rd instar larvae from their food. Next, I set up three petri dishes . One dish had sugar and was grape scented. Since the larvae really enjoy eating at this point in their lives, they learned to associate the scent of grape with food and therefore a positive reward. The second dish contained no sugar and had a watermelon scent. Because the larvae were deprived of food in the watermelon scented petri dish, they associated the scent with a negative reward. I alternated which dish the larvae were placed in a total of 6 times in 5 minute increments. Last, I placed them into a dish with no sugar. On one side of the plate, there was a grape scent, and on the other, watermelon. Finally, I recorded how many flies remembered that the grape scent earned them an award. I did this process for each experimental condition. My data showed that the larvae raised on Coca-Cola and Coke Zero were unable to remember which scent was associated with a reward. Almost each time, about half of the larvae went to the grape scent while the other half flocked to the watermelon scent. This revealed to me that they were unable to remember their training and took a guess. It was really cool to see that the assay revealed to me that the larvae were affected significantly by the beverage. While this assay was not particularly difficult, it was very time consuming and required a decent amount of patience. I’m grateful for the friends that visited me and kept me company while I performed this assay, as well as the instructors and TA checking in on me often. It truly made performing the assay a worthwhile experience!
Can consumption of Coca-Cola and Coke Zero impact developmental cognition?”
I am grateful to my TRIP peers, instructors, and TA for all of the smiles, laughs, and silly discussions. I was able to meet such an incredible group of like-minded people and truly established some great friendships. I am really looking forward to the people that my TRIP peers will grow into in the future, I know that they all have great things ahead of them! I feel lucky to have been a part of their journey for the short amount of time that I was. I am thankful to Dr. Leystra, Ms.Pellegrin, Diya, and the rest of my incredible TRIP peers. I am thankful to everyone reading this for following my journey. I am signing off for now! Have an incredible day.