The International Behavioral and Neural Genetics Society has just awarded the 2011 Young Scientist of the Year Award to Stephen L. Boehm, Ph.D.
Boehm is a behavioral neuroscientist and is being honored for his ongoing study of the impact of binge alcohol consumption on gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neural circuits in the brain.
“Binge alcohol consumption has criminal, social and health implications. Current treatment approaches are not great. Our hope is that understanding how GABA interacts and changes with repeated alcohol consumption will help us develop therapeutic strategies that target GABA receptors, ultimately enabling us to treat alcohol abuse and dependence in humans.”
“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 in what we hope is the path to drug therapy which may be useful in treating alcohol abuse and dependence,” said Boehm.
The research study is done using mice. 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 also studying GABA receptor changes that occur over repeated binge drinking episodes.
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As one whose life has been personally and detrimentally affected by a loved one’s binge drinking, I am looking forward to the day when research provides the answers we need. Too many combat veterans resort to binge drinking to dull their psychic/ and/or physical pain. Let’s hope we’ll see a day when the damaging effects can be mitigated in some way, and possibly be prevented.
What a different world it would be, without the heartbreak and trauma that binge drinking brings to the drinker and so many innocent others. People who have not experienced it cannot imagine how it makes life feel so unbalanced.
Being around a binge drinker means you can never relax. You’re always waiting for the “next shoe to drop.” Or looking forward to the end of the latest binge, or wondering when the next binge will begin. How bad will it be this time??