Science finds link to binge drinking
LONDON - Reuters
Scientists have found brain processes involved in alcohol abuse. AFP photoScientists have unpicked the brain processes involved in teenage alcohol abuse and say their findings help explain why some young people have more of a tendency to binge drink.
A study published in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal found that a gene known as RASGRF-2 plays a crucial role in controlling how alcohol stimulates the brain to release dopamine, triggering feelings of reward.
“If people have a genetic variation of the RASGRF-2 gene, alcohol gives them a stronger sense of reward, making them more likely to be heavy drinkers,” said Gunter Schumann, who led the study at King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry.
Alcohol and other addictive drugs activate the brain’s dopamine systems, which induces feelings of pleasure and reward.
Worldwide, some 2.5 million people die each year from the harmful use of alcohol, accounting for about 3.8 percent of all deaths, according to the World Health Organisation.
Recent studies also carried out by scientists at the IoP have found that RASGRF-2 is a risk gene for alcohol abuse.