Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2008

Capstone Advisor

Frank Middleton

Honors Reader

Tibor Palfai

Capstone Major


Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Sciences and Engineering

Subject Categories



Alcoholism is believed to affect an estimated 18 million people each year. The number of people abusing alcohol is three times the number of people abusing all other substances combined. (Institute for Health Policy, 2001) An estimated $276 billion per year(Institute for Health Policy, 2001)is spent to combat the influence of alcoholism in this country alone; more than cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, combined.

A full understanding of the effects of alcohol on the developing nervous system and other organ systems, and knowing when and where that central or internal organ damage has occurred after a certain period of abuse will allow us to identify at risk individuals and allow for appropriate and efficient interventional strategies. The purpose of this study was to try and identify which peripheral biomarkers indicate when early evidence for central nervous system damage has occurred.

We performed this using a well-established rat model of drinking with the intention of identifying genes in peripheral blood whose expression patterns are strongly correlated with damage to the brain but separate from changes produced by damage to the heart or liver. We found two genes that showed highly significant changes in all tissues, the Fos gene and the Hfrlike gene, although significant, they were not too interesting because they are known to fluctuate with other toxins. Further studies need to be done to pinpoint a specific biomarker for ethanol induced change.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Included in

Biology Commons



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