Sartor's team collected alcohol-use histories from telephone interviews to determine when these women made transitions from one drinking milestone to the next. They studied twins to get an idea of the genetic influences on those transitions. Identical twins share 100 percent of their genetic material, and fraternal twins share about half. So when identical twin pairs are found to be more similar on a given behavior than fraternal twin pairs, this suggests that genetics are playing a role in that behavior. The researchers used this twin-based design to estimate the contributions of genes-versus-environment to the rate at which women progressed through stages of alcohol use.
"Alcohol dependence is a psychiatric disorder, but drinking alcohol in moderation is normative and is a part of many cultural traditions," Sartor explains. "For example, 85 percent of women in our study reported having at least one drink in their lifetimes whereas only about 7 percent became alcohol dependent."
Past studies have focused more on men than women, but Sartor says it is important to study both sexes because risk factors that contribute to alcohol problems differ somewhat between males and females. She also says this study helps to dispel the myth that alcohol dependence is a disorder exclusive to middle-aged men. In the United States, the prevalence of alcohol use disorders is highest among 18- to 29-year-olds.
"Much of the heavy drinking that occurs in the young adult years is actually problem drinking," she explains. "What once was perceived as partying a little too much is now being recognized as a potentially serious problem."
The majority of the young women in the study curtailed their drinking before it advanced from a normal behavior to a psychiatric disorder.
The researchers plan to extend their investigations to examine genetics and environment on other drinking behaviors, such as the cessation of alcohol use. Many problem drinkers Page: 1 2 3 Related medicine news :1
. United Nations Environment Programme and Bayer Corporation Announce North American Winners of International Childrens Painting Competition2
. Baxa Environmental Program Nets Significant Results3
. Creating Healing Environments: Healthcare Industrys Largest Sustainability Conference to be Held May 20-22 in Pittsburgh4
. The Center for Health Design & Vendome Group Unveil Premiere Issue of Health Environments Research & Design Journal (HERD) - http://www.herdjournal.com5
. School Environment Can Curb Kids Weight Gain6
. Changing school environment curbs weight gain in children7
. Human breast tumors microenvironment primes them for metastasis8
. Highmark, Prominent Part of Pittsburgh City Skyline, to Go Dark for One Hour to Support the Environment9
. Environmental Toxins, Radiation May Be Tied to Breast Cancer 10
. PROGNOSIS Extends its Popular IP Telephony Management Software to Support Nortel Environments11
. Space sentinels: New tools in space to improve European environment and security policies