University of Michigan scientists have found new information about genetic variations in the brain and alcoholism.
Professor of Psychiatry Margit Burmeister, the senior study author, says U-M researchers looked at how variations of the GABRA2 gene might increase risk for alcoholism.
In the study, participant’s brains were scanned as they performed tasks involving winning or losing money.
“This is not at all a damage or any kind of big change. It’s only during the activation when people are thinking about something. In this particular case, they’re thinking about they might lose some money or they might gain some money, that the neurons are little bit more active,” Burmeister told WWJ Newsradio 950′s Pat Sweeting.
Burmeister said research shows that women are affected most often but it’s not yet known exactly why. “Women, more likely, will become drinkers because of stress, anxiety, feeling depressed, feeling moody. And, men are more often using a different path that has to do with anti-social, impulsive behavior,” she said. Burmeister said he hopes more of these variants will be available in the future to ensure that an alcoholic gets the right treatment. The study included 449 people, who came from 173 families – 129 of whom had at least one member diagnosed with alcohol dependence or abuse