Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Heredity behind subjective effects of alcohol

24.05.2011
Scientists have long known that people who have a close relative with alcohol problems themselves run an increased risk of starting to abuse alcohol. The reason for this has not been known, but a new study from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, provides part of the answer. The study shows that people who have a close relative who is an alcoholic react more positively to alcohol than other people.

The study has been published in the scientific journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, and is the first to have investigated a large group of people who have a close relative with type I alcoholism. Previous research in the field has been based on a more limited population, such as sons of alcoholic fathers.

There are two types of alcoholism, type I and type II. Type I alcohol abuse depends to a large extent on the interaction of genetic factors with the environment, such as social environment and life events, while type II alcohol abuse involves a large genetic risk of developing alcohol addiction, independent of environment.

“The study is unique in the way in which we have studied how children of type I alcoholics experience the effects of alcohol and compared this with the experiences of the control group, which consisted of people who had no history of alcohol abuse in the family. The group of people who were children of type I alcoholics were healthy and had no mental health problems, and they did not have alcohol problems themselves”, says Anna Söderpalm-Gordh, scientist at the Sahlgrenska Academy.

The scientists gave moderate amounts of either alcohol or placebo in the form of juice to a group of 51 participants, 34 men and 17 women. The drink that any participant received was determined at random. Twenty-nine of the participants were members of the control group, while 22 were members of the group for whom a member of the family had type I alcoholism. Members of both groups then described how they experienced the effects of the alcohol.

The scientists discovered that participants with a family member with type I alcoholism reported more positive and more stimulating effects from drinking alcohol than participants in the control group. These individuals also wanted to drink more alcohol than those in the group without any heredity effects. This supports the hypothesis that children of type I alcoholics inherit some form of positive experience of drinking alcohol.

“These results show that some of us are more responsive to the rewarding effects of alcohol: we react to alcohol more strongly and more positively than others. This can, in turn, lead to increased consumption and a greater risk of alcohol abuse. The results also suggest that children of type I alcoholics, who have been considered to run a smaller hereditary risk of developing alcohol addiction, may be in the danger zone for developing alcoholism”, says Anna Söderpalm-Gordh.

She believes that these results are important, particularly against the background of the fact that around 40% of the population of Sweden have a close family member who has problems with alcohol.

“Be aware of how you react to alcohol. You should consider cutting down and not drinking as much as other people if you notice that you experience alcohol as more positive than your friends,” she says, and continues:

“Each person’s individual experience of alcohol is an important tool in understanding why certain people develop alcoholism and it may be a marker in itself for how an individual’s alcohol consumption may develop. Our discovery is part of the preventative work that can help a certain group of people who run the risk of drinking too much alcohol.”

The journal: Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research (ACER)
Title of the article: Healthy subjects with a family history of alcoholism show increased stimulative effects of alcohol

Authors: Anna Söderpalm-Gordh and Bo Söderpalm

For more information, contact:
Dr. Anna Söderpalm-Gordh, tel: +46(0)31 342 3483, +46(0)70 421 4848,
e-mail: anna.soderpalm@neuro.gu.se

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://www.gu.se

Further reports about: Alcoholism Heredity alcohol abuse experimental mental health problem

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft

nachricht Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>