Navigation Links
Study IDs new genetic links to impulsivity, alcohol problems in men
Date:11/16/2011

Being impulsive can lead us to say things we regret, buy things we really don't need, engage in behaviors that are risky and even develop troublesome addictions. But are different kinds of hastiness and rashness embedded in our DNA?

A new study suggests the answer is yes -- especially if you're a man.

The research, led by University of Nebraska-Lincoln assistant professor of psychology Scott Stoltenberg, found links between impulsivity and a rarely researched gene called NRXN3. The gene plays an important role in brain development and in how neurons function.

The newly discovered connection, which was more prevalent among men than women in the study, may help explain certain inclinations toward alcohol or drug dependence, Stoltenberg said.

"Impulsivity is an important underlying mechanism in addiction," he said. "Our finding that NRXN3 is part of the causal pathway toward addiction is an important step in identifying the underlying genetic architecture of this key personality trait."

For the study, researchers measured impulsivity levels in nearly 450 participants -- 65 percent women, 35 percent men -- via a wide range of tests. Then, they compared those results with DNA samples from each participant. They found that impulsivity was significantly higher in those who regularly used tobacco or who had alcohol or drug problems.

The results, interestingly, also came down along gender lines. In men, two connections clearly emerged; first, between a particular form of the NRXN3 gene and attentional impulsivity, and second, between another NRXN3 variant and alcohol problems. The connections for women, meanwhile, were much weaker.

Stoltenberg said the gender-specific results are a rich area for further study.

"We can't really say what causes these patterns of association to be different in men and women. But our findings will be critical as we continue to improve our understanding of the pathways from specific genes to health-risk behaviors," he said.

The researchers were interested in impulsivity because the trait can predispose people to any number of behavioral problems -- addictions, behavior control, failing to plan ahead or think through consequences of actions -- and settled on the role of NXRN3 from previous, recent studies.

While the results add important new evidence to the genetic role in impulsivity and, in turn, its role in substance abuse, researchers were careful to not claim a perfect cause-and-effect relationship. Impulsivity may interact with sensitivity to alcohol, for one example, or anxiety, for another, to create complex pathways to substance use problems in both men and women.

"If you're working to explain how genes are associated with something like (substance) dependence, you have to connect a lot of dots," Stoltenberg said. "There's a big gap between genes and a substance use disorder. Impulsivity is one factor to such problems -- not the only factor."


'/>"/>

Contact: Scott Stoltenberg
sstoltenberg2@unl.edu
402-472-7861
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Long-term study shows effect of climate change on animal diversity
2. £2 million study to reveal workings of dementia genes
3. New study looks to define evangelicals and how they affect polling
4. CU-Boulder study suggests air quality regulations miss key pollutants
5. Researchers study acoustic communication in deep-sea fish
6. Study reveals homeowner perceptions in fire-prone areas
7. Researchers study how pistachios may improve heart health
8. Study: urban black bears live fast, die young
9. New study indicates link between weight gains during pregnancy and dieting history
10. Study reveals specific gene in adolescent men with delinquent peers
11. Sweat it out: UH study examines ability of sweat patches to monitor bone loss
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/15/2016)... Calif. , Dec. 15, 2016   WaferGen ... publicly held genomics technology company, announced today that on ... Listing Qualifications Department of The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC ... closing bid price of WaferGen,s common stock had been ... Accordingly, WaferGen has regained compliance with Listing Rule 5550(a)(2) ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... "Increase in mobile transactions is driving the growth of ... expected to grow from USD 4.03 billion in 2015 ... of 29.3% between 2016 and 2022. The market is ... smart devices, government initiatives, and increasing penetration of e-commerce ... to grow at a high rate during the forecast ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... India , December 7, 2016 According to a ... Machine Learning), Software Tool (Facial Expression, Voice Recognition), Service, Application Area, End User, ... is estimated to grow from USD 6.72 Billion in 2016 to USD 36.07 ... Continue Reading ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/18/2017)... , Jan. 18, 2017   Boston Biomedical , ... designed to target cancer stemness pathways, will feature data ... napabucasin, at the 2017 ASCO Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium, held ... . Napabucasin is an orally-administered investigational ... STAT3. i Cancer stem cells (CSCs) possess the ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Whitehouse Labs has furthered its efforts towards ... (AMRI), the scientific staff dedicated to Extractables / Leachables & Impurities has more ... 2017. Extractable & Leachable evaluations have become increasingly more vital to successful product ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... ... January 18, 2017 , ... ... to sell research and genetic testing lab equipment from two different leading institutes. This ... and Northeast regions of the United States. This 1-day online auction will take ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... Texas , Jan. 18, 2017  Caris ... and the Lustgarten Foundation, the largest private funder ... a clinical trial evaluating the impact of immunotherapy ... providing clinical trial enrollment services to identify potential ... facilitate communication between treating physicians and study investigators. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: