Nitric oxide, genetics and alcohol consumption

Total recorded alcohol per capita consumption ...
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Many a drinker felt a burst of hope/support when scientists first began finding connections between genetic makeup and the urge to drink alcohol. The hope was, if you drank too much, they might find a way to “cure” it, just as they have found cures for so many diseases. And hopefully a gentler cure that doesn’t involve making you violently ill when you take a drink.

The search continues. Researchers have previously established that a “neuronal nitric oxide synthase 1 (NOS1) gene promoter polymorphism, EX1f-VNTR (exon 1f-variable number tandem repeats)” (***see note below) influences both impulsivity and psychopathology.

A recent study now says there may be a reverse correlation between one allele (one member of a pair of genes), the short one, and its pair. The short one, associated with psychpathology and impulsivity—long thought to be linked to alcoholism—has been  considered the “risk” gene for alcohol consumption in humans.

The study indicates it’s actually the long allele that’s a marker for starting drinking at an earlier age, drinking more, and experiencing more severe effects of alcohol. And the study results were significant enough for Clinical Psychiatry News to use the headline: Allele Appears Protective Against Alcohol Use. So they’re getting closer to identifying a genetic link—and creating new hope for treating alcoholism more effectively.

*** Looking up the definition of this incredibly long name didn’t enlighten me much, but it led me to an article about it in relation to allergic diseases in the Czech people, and one in relation to Parkinson’s disease in Taiwan

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