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University of Maryland School of Medicine study identifies genes associated with binge drinking
Date:2/28/2011

king followed by withdrawal. But binge drinking carries the same serious health risks as other types of excessive drinking: Cancer, heart disease and, most notably, the serious public health issue of vehicle accidents."

In the study, Dr. June and senior author Laure Aurelian, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics and microbiology and immunology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, examined the effect of alcohol on the GABA receptor and TLR4. GABA receptors are a class of receptors in the brain that react to the neurotransmitter GABA and act as inhibitory receptors, calming down or inhibiting the activity of neurons in the brain. GABA receptors react to alcohol, giving drinkers a calm and euphoric feeling and reinforcing excessive drinking behavior. Dr. June has long been interested in the role GABA receptors play in alcoholic drinking. This is the first scientific study to document GABA receptors' key involvement in binge drinking specifically, though scientists already believed that the receptors had a role in excessive drinking in general.

"The University of Maryland School of Medicine employs a dual approach to addiction and substance abuse, providing treatment for those struggling with addiction through its Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse, as well as invaluable scientific research into the biological roots of addiction and alcoholism," says E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., vice president for medical affairs for the University of Maryland and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and dean of the School of Medicine. "We hope that basic science discoveries such as this one will translate rapidly into better treatments to improve the lives and health of those struggling with alcohol, and address the serious public health issue of addiction and substance abuse."

One of the study's most novel findings concerns TLR4's important role in binge drinking. Science has traditionally co
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Contact: Karen Robinson
karobinson@som.umaryland.edu
410-706-7590
University of Maryland Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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