University of Illinois at Chicago researchers report that intermittent exposure to high levels of alcohol in adolescent animals leads to increased levels of microRNA-137 — a molecule that regulates gene expression in cells — in the brains of adults. Their findings, which are published in the journal eNEURO, also show that blocking microRNA-137 in adulthood helps to reverse or reduce the lasting effects of youth drinking in animal models, such as increased alcohol use and anxiety. “MicroRNA-137 is an important part of normal brain development, but when young brains are exposed to high amounts of alcohol intermittently, as happens with binge drinking behavior, the molecule’s regular function is altered,” said Subhash Pandey, professor of psychiatry and director of the UIC Center for Alcohol Research in Epigenetics. “By altering microRNA-137 levels, binge drinking actually rewires the brain.”
Teenage binge drinking is linked to altered gene expression in the brain, specifically the central nucleus of the amygdala. Adolescent rats exposed to alcohol had increased levels of miR-137, resulting in lower expression of proteins essential for healthy neuron growth. During adulthood, these rats displayed higher levels of anxiety and an increased preference for alcohol consumption.
The goal of the project is to look at the implementation of Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) in psychiatry residency. EPAs are a collection of knowledge, skills and attitudes focused on a specific task, like an emergent psychiatric interview or cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Congratulations to Dr. Sean Blitzstein, who was awarded a Distinguished Fellow of the Association for Academic Psychiatry. He was also elected as the Vice-President of the Association for Academic Psychiatry!
Dr. Burkhouse (with Co-I’s Dr. Suor, Dr. Stange, Dr. Van Voorhees, and Dr. Caskey) received a Center for Clinical & Translational Sciences (CCTS) Pilot Grant Award for their project entitled: Pathways Linking Maternal Depression to Mental and Physical Health Outcomes among Offspring during Early Childhood.
The Award of Merit recognizes outstanding Academic Professionals and Civil Service employees. It is a university-wide honor available to UIC campus staff who exhibit service, commitment, and dedication.