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A $7.5 million grant to Brown will fund a new Alcohol Research Center on HIV to study the effect of alcohol consumption in people with the virus. According to a University press release, the study will investigate the "physiological and behavioral" issues that arise from consumption of alcohol by individuals with HIV. The researchers hope to be able to advise patients on the risks of consuming alcohol in addition to their medication.

The center, financed by a five-year National Institutes of Health grant, will be directed by Peter Monti, professor of alcohol and addiction studies.

The research will be broken down into a number of smaller studies. One study, led by Ronald Cohen, professor of psychiatry and human behavior, will study the effects of alcohol use on the structure and function of the brains of HIV patients, according to the press release.

The other major study, led by Christopher Kahler, professor of community health and scientific director of the new research center, will assess whether drinking makes patients less likely to follow their medication regimens and how "alcohol use impacts the course of the disease."

According to Kahler, the hypothesis is that reducing drinking will have "broad effects and better health long-term with HIV." The disease and the antiviral therapies directly affect the brain and weaken the liver. Alcohol also directly weakens these areas, so researchers predict that drinking could put a further strain on the patient's body, according to the press release. It is also believed that excessive alcohol use makes patients less likely to keep up with their medication.


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