Thursday, March 20, 2014

About the collision of genes and drinking in adolescents

Adolescence is the period when teenagers are mostly predisposed to start drinking alcohol that can lead to severe disorders. A new study is talking about drinking in adolescence and its relation with environmental and genetic influences. The results of this research will be published in March 2014 in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. According to Carmen Van der Zwaluw, an assistant professor at Radboud University Nijmegen and corresponding author of the study, heavy drinking in adolescents can cause alcohol addiction and other alcohol-related problems. 40% of adult alcoholics are already heavy drinkers since adolescence. This is the reason why preventing heavy drinking in adolescents is essential. Van der Zwaluw is talking about DRD2 receptor and OPRM1 genes that play a significant role in feelings associated with pleasure from drinking, having sex, drug usage and eating. She believes that different types of genes respond differently to alcohol. She divides drinkers in three groups: light, moderate and heavy drinkers. The results prove that light drinkers had lower risks to alcohol addiction, compared to heavy drinkers. “However, one should keep in mind that every adolescent responds differently to parenting efforts, and that the effects of parenting may depend on the genetic make-up of the adolescent”, she said.

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