Genetics 'predict relapse risk among alcohol-dependent patients'

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Washington, Feb 4 (ANI): Researchers have identified a genetic variant associated with post-treatment relapse among alcohol-dependent patients.

In the new study, research team has found a link between the Val66Met (rs6265) polymorphism in the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) gene and risk for post-treatment relapse among AD patients.

"Some people are simply more likely than others to become dependent on alcohol," said Marcin Wojnar, associate professor of psychiatry at the Medical University of Warsaw and adjunct researcher at the University of Michigan.

"Clearly, cultural, social, and psychological factors are involved. AD also runs in families, so there is an inherited component to it.

"Once AD has developed, certain people are more likely to relapse after treatment than others.

"Some studies show that a family history of alcoholism can lead to a more severe illness that is harder to treat, which is why our group and others are looking at genetic factors," Wojnar added.

In the study involving 154 patients (117 males, 37 females), the researchers found that a particular type or variant of the gene that codes for BDNF was associated with an increased risk for relapse in alcoholic patients, particularly those with a family history of AD.

"Our study indicated that some patients may have inherited a tendency to return to drinking even after intensive treatment and [may be] more treatment-resistant than other patients," said Wojnar.

"Specifically, we found that a particular type or variant of the gene that codes for BDNF was associated with an increased risk for relapse in alcoholic patients, particularly those with a family history of AD."

BDNF is a protein found in the brain that helps nerve cells survive and connect to one another.

"These findings provide further support for the assertion that alcoholic patients are not all alike," said Bauer. "Some possess genetic propensities which ... may motivate or promote risk for alcoholism as well as risk for treatment failure."

According to Lance Bauer, professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine the findings provide further support for the assertion that alcoholic patients are not all alike.

"Some possess genetic propensities which ... may motivate or promote risk for alcoholism as well as risk for treatment failure," he added. (ANI)

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