Today’s morning talk hour discussed alcohol (again). I said I would post a couple of references for those asking if some groups of people are genetically programmed to abuse alcohol.

There are two significant articles (more but two to start with) that should be considered by anyone. These articles are listed in the scientific bookmarks collection at (see sidebar) Alcohol control articles at Connotea

The first article is

    • Neurogenetic adaptive mechanisms in alcoholism by CR Cloninger
  • Science 24 April 1987:
    Vol. 236. no. 4800, pp. 410 – 416
    DOI: 10.1126/science.2882604 Science, Vol 236, Issue 4800, 410-416
    Copyright © 1987 by American Association for the Advancement of Science

    ABSTRACT
    Clinical, genetic, and neuropsychopharmacological studies of developmental factors in alcoholism are providing a better understanding of the neurobiological bases of personality and learning. Studies of the adopted-away children of alcoholics show that the predisposition to initiate alcohol-seeking behavior is genetically different from susceptibility to loss of control after drinking begins. Alcohol-seeking behavior is a special case of exploratory appetitive behavior and involves different neurogenetic processes than do susceptibility to behavioral tolerance and dependence on the antianxiety or sedative effects of alcohol. Three dimensions of personality have been described that may reflect individual differences in brain systems modulating the activation, maintenance, and inhibition of behavioral responses to the effects of alcohol and other environmental stimuli. These personality traits distinguish alcoholics with different patterns of behavioral, neurophysiological, and neuropharmacological responses to alcohol.

    The entire article can be downloaded here. It is a technical article but not difficult to understand.
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/236/4800/410

    The second article is

    • Reward Deficiency Syndrome by Kenneth Blum, John G. Cull, Eric R. Braverman and David E. Comings
  • American Scientist, Volume 84, Issue 2, p.132-145, 03/1996
    Bibliographic Code: 1996AmSci..84..132B

    In 1990 one of us published with his colleagues a paper suggesting that a specific genetic anomaly was linked to alcoholism (Blum et al. 1990). Unfortunately it was often erroneously reported that they had found the “alcoholism gene,” implying that there is a one-to-one relation between a gene and a specific behavior. Such misinterpretations are common-readers may recall accounts of an “obesity gene,” or a “personality gene.” Needless to say, there is no such thing as a specific gene for alcoholism, obesity or a particular type of personality. However, it would be naive to assert the opposite, that these aspects of human behavior are not associated with any particular genes. Rather the issue at hand is to understand how certain genes and behavioral traits are connected.

    The article is easily available here–

    There was also an interesting poem read by another listener, “My name is Mr Alcohol” which is 20 years old or so. I couldn’t find that poem on-line nor any source for the poet and publication. Can anyone else help?


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