Navigation Links
Genetic Trait Linked to Alcoholism
Date:11/20/2008

Processing of the brain chemical serotonin may be key, study says

THURSDAY, Nov. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Variations in the genetic makeup of alcoholics may affect how much they drink, a new study suggests.

And the key might be the brain's control of serotonin, a mood-influencing neurological chemical.

The research could potentially help doctors understand who might be at highest risk of becoming an alcoholic, and then treat that person, said study co-author Ming D. Li, head of neurobiology at the University of Virginia.

Li added that the research is unique, because it shows that a single gene variation is connected to a kind of behavior -- alcoholism.

The genetic blueprint that people inherit from their parents accounts for an estimated 40 percent to 50 percent of a person's risk of becoming alcoholic, said Dr. Robert Philibert, director of the Laboratory of Psychiatric Genetics at the University of Iowa.

The interplay between genetic makeup and environmental factors is responsible for the rest of the risk, said Philibert, who's familiar with the new study's findings.

"This study really takes the next step down the line," he said, in understanding the role that genes play in alcoholism.

For the study, the researchers looked at the DNA of 275 alcoholics who had sought treatment. Almost 80 percent were men, and all were of European descent. The researchers found that differences in the genes that affect serotonin levels in the brain coincided with the amount of alcohol consumed by the drinkers.

The findings were published online Nov. 20 and were expected to be in the February 2009 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Scientists think serotonin, a neurotransmitter, is crucial to human moods and emotions as well as things like sleep. Low levels of serotonin can lead to depression; some antidepressants aim to help the brain do a better job of processing serotonin.

"We know that serotonin is critical to maintaining a positive sense of self and for controlling our anxiety," Philibert said. That could explain a possible connection between serotonin levels and alcoholism, he added.

Li cautioned, however, that it's unlikely that a single genetic trait by itself would make someone more susceptible to alcoholism. It's more likely that a genetic variation works with other genes to raise the risk, he said.

Philibert said research might lead to a day when doctors could look at an alcoholic's genetic traits and discover whether antidepressants could help that person.

Doctors, he said, might say, "You have this genotype and you drink a lot, so you may benefit from a drug like Prozac."

More information

Learn more about alcoholism from the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.



SOURCES: Ming D. Li, Ph.D., professor and head of neurobiology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville; Robert Philibert, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Laboratory of Psychiatric Genetics, University of Iowa, Iowa City; February 2009, Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Genetic Testing No Real Help in Predicting Type 2 Diabetes
2. Genetic Trait Could Predict Lung Cancer
3. Lung Cancer Genetics Different in Black Patients: Study
4. Genetics of aging and cancer resistance
5. Genetic disease treatments and pharmacogenetics: From scientific discovery to medical delivery
6. Research demonstrates differing genetic makeup of lung cancer in African-American patients
7. New technique to study the genetics of breast cancer
8. Genetic blueprint revealed for kidney design and formation
9. Know the Myths and Facts About Family Health History: American College of Medical Genetics
10. Impulse control area in brain affected in teens with genetic vulnerability for alcoholism
11. Interleukin Genetics Announces Conference Call and Webcast to Discuss Third Quarter 2008 Business Results
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... HMP , a leader in healthcare ... Folio Magazine Eddie Digital Award for ‘Best B-to-B Healthcare Website.’ Winners were announced during ... , The annual award competition recognizes editorial and design excellence across a range of ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... On Saturday, October 21, ... relay – Miles by Moonlight to raise money for the American Heart Association Heart ... , Teams will work together to keep their treadmills moving for 5 hours. ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... 12, 2017 , ... Health Literacy Innovations (HLI), creator of ... and the Cancer Patient Education Network (CPEN), an independent professional organization that shares ... strategic alliance. , As CPEN’s strategic partner, HLI will help support CPEN ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Vohra Chief Medical Officer Dr. ... colleagues, skilled nursing facility medical directors and other clinicians at various events in ... , "At many of these conferences we get to educate other physicians, facility ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Vodori, ... Flow promotional review platform at the Promotional Review Committee Compliance and Best ... marketers streamline the medical, legal, and regulatory review (MLR) process – which ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/2/2017)... , Oct. 2, 2017  Eli Lilly and Company ... results for the third quarter of 2017 on Tuesday, ... call on that day with the investment community and ... The conference call will begin at 9 a.m. ... access a live webcast of the conference call through ...
(Date:9/28/2017)... Sept. 28, 2017 Cohen Veterans Bioscience and ... use of wearable and home sensors for real-time monitoring ... Signal Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on disruptive health ... an affordable analytical system to record and integrate behavioral, ... ...
(Date:9/23/2017)... HORSHAM, Pa. , Sept. 22, 2017 ... received a complete response letter from the U.S. Food ... (BLA) seeking approval of sirukumab for the treatment of ... response letter indicates additional clinical data are needed to ... of moderately to severely active RA. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: