Marvin Diaz, an associate professor with Binghamton University in New York State has been awarded a grant to study the effects prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) on anxiety. While it is believed that PAE contributes to one’s susceptibility to anxiety, there is little concrete research on how, precisely, the brain structure is impacted. In other words, we know that PAE can cause anxiety, but how does it do it?
By observing rats that were prenatally exposed to alcohol over the course of five years, and comparing their behavior and brains to those of rats that were not prenatally exposed to alcohol, Professor Diaz hopes to illuminate not only the relationship between PAE and anxiety. Furthermore, since anxiety can influence one’s predisposition to consume alcohol, he hopes that his research will reveal help us to better understand the relationship between PAE and alcohol use.