London: Gene that hard-wires people for binge-drinking, by boosting levels of a happy brain chemical triggered by alcohol, has been discovered, scientists claim. The gene - RASGRF-2 - is one of many already suggested to be linked with problem drinking. The new study, led by King's College London's Institute of Psychiatry (IoP) helps explain why some teenagers are more prone to drinking alcohol than others.
The research provides the most detailed understanding yet of the brain processes involved in teenage alcohol abuse. Alcohol and other addictive drugs activate the dopamine system in the brain which is responsible for feelings of pleasure and reward. Recent studies also found that the RASGRF2 gene is a risk gene for alcohol abuse, however, the exact mechanism involved in this process has, until now, remained unknown. "People seek out situations which fulfil their sense of reward and make them happy, so if your brain is wired to find alcohol rewarding, you will seek it out," Professor Gunter Schumann, lead author of the study said.
"We now understand the chain of action: how our genes shape this function in our brains and how that, in turn, leads to human behaviour. We found that the RASGRF-2 gene plays a crucial role in controlling how alcohol stimulates the brain to release dopamine, and hence trigger the feeling of reward. So, if people have a genetic variation of the RASGRF-2 gene, alcohol gives them a stronger sense of reward, making them more likely to be heavy
05:03 PM, Dec 04, 2012
Washington: Female teens may be particularly vulnerable to the negative effects of binge drinking. Heavy alcohol use has been linked with diminishing mental processes among both adults and adolescents, particularly in tasks of spatial working memory (SWM). SWM is the ability to perceive the space around you, which is critical to logical thinking and reasoning, said study co-author Susan F. Tapert, professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San...
11:43 AM, Jul 18, 2011