An Incredible Enigma and the Story Behind the Story

A recent study suggests that genetics may affect the size of a particular area of the brain that is associated with a more enhanced vulnerability to alcohol dependence.

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The said study found that the size of the right orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), an area of the brain that is involved in regulating emotional processing and impulsive behavior, is smaller in teenagers and young adults who have several relatives that are alcohol dependent. The findings of this research conducted by a team of scientists from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine headed by a psychiatry professor were published in the online version of Biological Psychiatry.

In the said study, the team examined brain scans taken using magnetic resonance imaging. They also looked in to genetic variations among the 107 teenage participants and conducted a validate questionnaire to determine each subject's impulsive tendencies.

The subjects we're composed of 63 teens who have been selected on the basis of belonging to families with two or more alcohol-dependent members to suggest the genetic predisposition for the addiction and 44 others who are not closely related to anyone using drugs or alcohol. Participants who we're related to a lot of alcohol dependent individuals appeared to have a smaller volume of OFC relative to the other subjects in the study.

The researchers also examined two genes: 5-HTT and BDNF, and found variants that appear to cause the reduced white matter in OFC associated with impulsive tendencies.

We are beginning to understand how genetic factors can lead to structural brain changes that may make people more vulnerable to alcoholism, says Dr. Hill. These results also support our earlier findings of reduced volume of other brain regions in high-risk kids.

They added that the size variations are already observable long before the child starts adopting the drinking habit and grow dependent on alcohol. This has led the team to further conclude that certain genetic factors really influence the predisposition for alcoholism, contrary to belief that alcoholism causes the biological conditions.

The study reinforces the belief that genetics also plays a big role in a teenager's predisposition for alcohol abuse.

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Posted in Home Improvement Post Date 04/25/2020


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