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Probing the complex genetics of alcoholism

Holden, Constance

Science, Jan 11, 1991, Vol.251(4990), p.163(2) [Tạp chí có phản biện]

ISSN: 0036-8075

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  • Nhan đề:
    Probing the complex genetics of alcoholism
  • Tác giả: Holden, Constance
  • Chủ đề: Alcoholism -- Genetic Aspects ; Alcoholism -- Causes Of
  • Là 1 phần của: Science, Jan 11, 1991, Vol.251(4990), p.163(2)
  • Mô tả: Attempts by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) to confirm reports in 1990 that a specific gene had been linked to alcoholism have failed, but a large-scale project is underway to investigate the genetic basis of the disorder. Funded by the NIAAA, the project will support research at six centers to study 600 alcoholics and their families. While there is general agreement among researchers that vulnerability to alcoholism can be inherited, controlled studies are very difficult to carry out, since the disorder takes on so many forms. For instance, certain childhood behavior disorders are associated with alcoholism later in life, but many alcoholics are not psychologically impaired in any obvious way. Some alcoholics drink consistently at a certain rate, while others drink in binges. The principal investigator of the NIAAA study, Henri Begleiter, believes no specific genes for alcoholism will be found. Instead, the disorder accompanies behavioral disregulation that can be present with or without alcoholism. His view has scientific support, but other researchers claim a genetic basis for some aspects of alcoholism. ''Compulsive disease'' genes may exist, for example. A recurrent problem in isolating symptoms specific to alcoholism is the high prevalence of mental disorders in alcoholics: close to half are affected. Even this finding is debated, however. The new NIAAA study aims to pull together different parts of the picture of predisposition, and it will use the most up-to-date methods of evaluation on a large number of people. Subjects' medical and psychiatric histories, test results from cognitive and motor tasks, electrophysiological studies, and biochemical assays, will be analyzed. The goal is to establish a blood cell bank from known, characterized alcoholics and family members so that genetic studies can be undertaken. Success is more likely now than previously, since so much of the human genome has been mapped out. Even if no specific alcoholism gene is found, improvements in classification systems and pharmacological treatments seem likely. (Consumer Summary produced by Reliance Medical Information, Inc.)
  • Số nhận dạng: ISSN: 0036-8075

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