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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Konstantin V. Slavin, MD (University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine)
Description: The exact mechanisms by which ethanol alters behavior are unknown, but this subject is a topic of active research in many laboratories and clinical centers. This book includes proceedings of a special symposium on studies of synaptic function in various alcohol-related disorders.
Purpose: The purpose is to summarize the latest research on the actions of ethanol on the synapse. With increasing interest focused on the alcohol problem, and further deepening of our knowledge about mechanisms of alcohol effects, this topic is both important and interesting.
Audience: The book is aimed at neuroscientists that deal with synapses and neurochemistry. Behavioral researchers and alcoholism investigators may also find it useful as both a reference source and scientific update. Contributors to the book are scientists from 15 academic centers in the U.S.
Features: The unique feature of the book is that in addition to the symposium proceedings, the editors put together several chapters based on discussions between the audience and the speakers. These discussions add to the understanding of the text and sometimes bring up certain questions that require additional explanations. Reading through the scientific exchanges gives readers an impression of actually being present at the symposium.
Assessment: This book is dedicated to a very specific topic in neuroscience — the effect of alcohol on neuronal synapses and their activity (transmission, modulation, and plasticity). The editors did a great job organizing the symposium on this topic and putting together a comprehensive overview of current concepts in the field of alcohol-related synaptic studies. This aspect of neurobiology is rapidly gaining more attention and this book may become a beginning of a new series on the molecular and physiological effects of alcohol.