Nearly 14 million Americans suffer from alcoholism, according to Treatment-Centers.net. Rehabilitation facilities provide treatment options for individuals suffering from this disease, but a newly-discovered gene may provide doctors with more insight into how it develops.
This week, University of North Carolina researchers confirmed that the gene known as CYP2E1 is responsible for how an individual responds to alcohol. Between 10 and 20 percent of the population who have it become inebriated sooner than those who do not. The results of the study show that individuals who feel more of an impact from alcohol are less likely to become dependent on it.
“This finding is interesting because it hints at a totally new mechanism of how we perceive alcohol when we drink,” said study author, Kirk Wilhelmsen. “The conventional model basically says that alcohol affects how neurotransmitters, the molecules that communicate between neurons, do their job. But our findings suggest it is even more complex than that.”
Approximately 40 percent of alcoholism is hereditary, Treatment-Centers.net reports. In combination with assistance provided by rehabilitation facilities, the new insight into CYP2E1 may provide novel treatment options for individuals battling alcohol addiction.