The Magazine of Marquette University | Fall 2005

 

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RESEARCH NOTES

THE BRIAN AND ALCOHOL

Homing in on alcohol’s impact

One glass of wine may help you relax, two may make you silly, and three may affect your judgment. Why? Dr. Robert W. Peoples may soon have the answer. He has been awarded a $1.34 million grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to study the effect alcohol consumption has on the brain.

A key protein known as the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor plays an essential role in how the brain processes information. Alcohol inhibits NMDA receptors, and Peoples has identified specific sites in the NMDA receptor protein that interact with alcohol. Now the assistant professor of biomedical sciences and his associates will advance that research and study how alcohol and related compounds interact with NMDA receptors at the molecular level to alter their function.

 

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