Two doctors at a Harvard-affiliated hospital received a $1.7 million federal grant this fail to study the effects of alcohol on female hormones as a follow up on two similar studies on men and laboratory animals.
Dr. Jack H. Mendelson, director of the alcohol and drug abuse research center at McLean Hospital, and Dr. Nancy Mello, assistant director will conduct the study.
The project will examine the biological, behavioral and social causes of alcohol use and abuse and the effect of alcohol on female reproductive hormones.
The project could lead to a better understanding of the effects of alcohol on pregnant and fetal development, the proposal states.
The staff will observe three groups of women during three phases of the menstrual cycle as well as individual women over one menstrual cycle.
The grant, awarded by the federally funded National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, provides $482.564 for the next year. The balance is to be awarded over the next three years.
The McLean proposal was one of the less than 25 chosen from a field of 336, institute spokesman Carol Tully said yesterday.
The two advisory committees which review proposals for the Institute called the project "ambitious and comprehensive," adding that Mendelson and Mello are "an experienced and productive investigative team."
To ensure accurate results, the women will be confined to a ward "where other drug use cannot influence results and where the safety and comfort of the women can be insured," according to the proposal.
Mendelson and Mello have already conducted studies on men and female monkeys which reveal the disruptive effects of alcohol on reproductive hormones. However, very little is known about similar effects on women.