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
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.