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IUPUI behavioral neuroscientist receives international award for alcoholism research
Date:5/9/2011

INDIANAPOLIS Stephen L. Boehm II, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology in the School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, has been named the 2011 Young Scientist of the Year by the International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society. The award will be presented May 13 at the society's annual meeting in Rome, Italy.

Boehm, a behavioral neuroscientist, is being honored for his ongoing study of the impact of binge alcohol consumption on gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neural circuits in the brain. The organization also cited Boehm's mentorship of students.

"Human alcohol abuse and dependence is associated with binge drinking, a dangerous mode of alcohol intake. We are interested in how binge drinking changes normal brain function. We expect to see changes in the GABA system at the cellular level that affects brain function. Understanding how the GABA system interacts with alcohol and is changed by repeated binge consumption is a critical step to the development of new treatments. The knowledge we are gaining in our lab is an early step on what we hope is the path to drug therapy which may be useful in treating alcohol abuse and dependence," said Boehm.

In his research, Boehm studies the initial and long-term effects of repeated binge drinking episodes in mice who seek alcohol, consuming within two hours a mixture of alcohol and tap water that raises their blood alcohol level above the human equivalent of .08. At .08 blood alcohol level, concentration and judgment are impaired in humans and all 50 states prohibit operation of a motor vehicle.

In mice as in humans, alcohol passes quickly into the blood stream and is transported to the brain where it affects GABA, an important neurotransmitter that inhibits mental activity. Boehm is investigating the interaction of alcohol and GABA, specifically how the sensitivity of GABA receptors to alcohol influences reaction to alcohol. He is also studying
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Contact: Cindy Fox Aisen
caisen@iupui.edu
317-274-7722
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis School of Science
Source:Eurekalert  

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IUPUI behavioral neuroscientist receives international award for alcoholism research
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