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Scientists Discover a Genetic Variant that can Suppress the desire of Drinking Alcohol

A shift from heavy to moderate social drinking could have major public health benefits, such as reduced cardiovascular disease risk

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New York, November 29, 2016: In a step that could lead to development of drugs to regulate alcohol consumption, researchers have identified a gene variant that suppresses the desire for a drink.

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“The findings are based on the largest genome-wide association meta-analysis and replication study to date mapping and comparing the genetics — the DNA — of more than 105,000 light and heavy social drinkers,” said a corresponding author of the study David Mangelsdorf, Chair of Pharmacology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

“The study identified a variation in the beta-Klotho gene linked to the regulation of social alcohol consumption. The less frequent variant — seen in approximately 40 per cent of the people in this study — is associated with a decreased desire to drink alcohol,” he said.

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Like many complex traits, the genetic influences on brain functions affecting drinking behaviour were thought to be so small that it would be necessary to study large numbers of people in order to detect those genetic variations, Mangelsdorf said.

The study compared the genetics of light and heavy social drinkers of European ancestry participating in nearly four dozen other large population studies worldwide.

The findings, published online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), could lead to development of drugs to help those with drinking problems.

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A shift from heavy to moderate social drinking could have major public health benefits, such as reduced cardiovascular disease risk.

Increased alcohol consumption is linked to two heart disease risk factors in particular — high blood pressure and obesity, according to the American Heart Association. (IANS)

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High BP Patients Prefer Pills and Tea Rather Than Exercise

Most survey respondents were under 45 and half were female and most had high blood pressure

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People are more likely to choose a daily cup of tea or a pill over exercise as the preferred treatment to control their high blood pressure, finds a survey.

In the survey, 79 per cent of respondents said they would be willing to take a pill for an extra month of life and 78 per cent said they would drink a daily cup of tea for one extra month of life. However, only 63 per cent said they would be willing to exercise for an extra month of life.

Exercise is less preferred by BP patients. IANS

“Our findings demonstrate that people naturally assign different weights to the pluses and minuses of interventions to improve cardiovascular health,” said lead author Erica Spatz, Assistant Professor at the Yale School of Medicine in Connecticut.

While “we are good about discussing side effects, rarely do we find out if other inconveniences or burdens may be impacting a person’s willingness to take a lifelong medication or to exercise regularly”. Researchers asked nearly 1,500 US adults to imagine that they had high blood pressure and then asked about their willingness to adopt any of four “treatments” to gain an extra month, year or five years of life.

Also Read: Common BP Drug May Prevent Onset Of Type 1 Diabetes

The “treatments” proposed were — a daily cup of tea, exercise, pills or monthly or semi-annual injections. Only 68 per cent preferred taking semi-annual injections, if it would give them an extra month of life. In addition, a mere 20 per cent wanted to achieve gains in life expectancy beyond what any of the individual interventions could provide.

Parle g is staple to Indians and their tea. Facebook
Pills and Tea are prefered more by High BP patients. Facebook

Most survey respondents were under 45 and half were female and most had high blood pressure. Hypertension is a leading risk factor for heart and blood vessel, or cardiovascular, disease. Yet, it is often called the silent killer because it causes no symptoms.

The American Heart Association recommends getting regular physical activity, in addition to other lifestyle changes including eating a healthy diet, limiting alcohol, managing stress, maintaining a healthy weight and quitting smoking. IANS