A little too much to drink

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A variant in the CYP2E1 gene, which is found only a minority of people, may cause greater inebriation. This may be a good thing, suggested Kirk C. Wilhelmsen, MD, PhD, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as prior studies have shown that individuals who react strongly to alcohol are less likely to develop an addiction to it later in life. The study, referred to online in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research (ahead of print for the January 20011 issue) may provide the genetic basis for protection against addiction to alcohol. The researchers wrote, “With multiple lines of evidence linking CYP2E1 to alcohol intake and subsequent outcomes, this gene can be an important predictor of risk of alcoholism and provide us with a better understanding of how the brain perceives alcohol.” They went on to caution that while understanding the CYP2E1 gene variant could be useful as a predictor of alcoholism, there is no single reason as to why people drink. Click here to read an article from Medpage Today that discusses this study more.

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