Why We Want to Drink, What That Has to Do with Genes, and Why it Matters for Our Alcohol Risk

Motives for drinking — to party, to conform, to cope, or to feel good — are consistent through young adulthood, and genes play a role in how those motives influence alcohol use, a new study of college students suggests. Understanding the mechanisms linking genetic variants to differences in drinking behaviors could present opportunities for predicting individuals’ vulnerability to Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) and intervening to prevent it. Genetic factors are responsible for about 50% of individual risk of AUD. Much of how that heritability functions is unexplained, however. The relationship between genes and drinking behavior is complex, involving thousands of genetic variants that each have small effects. Critical factors known as endophenotypes, or intermediary phenotypes, affect how an individual’s genetic predisposition manifests as a behavioral trait. For the new study in Alcoholism: Clinical & Environmental Research, investigators sought to determine whether drinking motives are o

Genetic Ancestry Versus Race Can Provide Specific, Targeted Insights to Predict and Treat Many Diseases

The complex patterns of genetic ancestry uncovered from genomic data in health care systems can provide valuable insights into both genetic and environmental factors underlying many common and rare diseases, according to a team of Mount Sinai researchers.

Early adversity in life may lead to stress-related drinking during adulthood

Many factors influence alcohol consumption during adulthood. Individuals who experience early adversity (EA) in their lives tend to be more vulnerable to stress-related drinking or other stress-related addiction. This vulnerability can be exacerbated by an existing genetic predisposition. These findings…