The findings, published this week in Nature Communications, suggest that, although heavy drinking is a prerequisite for AUD, variants in several genes -- DRD2 and SIX3, for example -- may need to be present for people to develop AUD.
"This study has revealed an important genetic independence of these two traits that we haven't seen as clearly before," said Henry R. Kranzler, MD, a professor of Psychiatry in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and first author of the study. "Focusing on variants only linked to AUD may help identify people at risk and find targets for the development of medications to treat it. The same applies to alcohol consumption, as those variants could inform interventions to help reduce consumption in heavy drinkers, who face their own set of adverse effects."
People - United - States - AUD - National
An estimated 16 million people in the United States suffer from AUD, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Excessive drinking is associated with a host of adverse medical, psychiatric, and social consequences -- and an estimated 88,000 Americans die every year from alcohol-related causes. What's more, alcohol misuse costs the United States nearly $300 billion a year, according to the most recent stats from the NIAAA.
Environmental, hereditary, and genetic factors all play a role in AUD; however, many of the variants across the genome believed to be associated with the disorder remain to be identified.
Study - Researchers - Data - Million - Veteran
For the study, the researchers used genetic data from the multi-ethnic Million Veteran Program (MVP), a national, voluntary research program sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs, which includes white, African-American, Latino, and Asian participants. The diverse study sample is notable, in that it included more than 50,000 African-Americans, one of the largest genome-wide studies of this population. Scores from the Alcohol...
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