Asians Fighting Alcoholism May Benefit from New Study

Stuart Wolpert, Medical Xpress, September 27, 2011

Recent research has found that a gene variant may predict naltrexone treatment success for alcoholism. About 50 percent of patients of Asian descent have a particular mutation that makes them likely to benefit from naltrexone, compared with about 20 percent of Caucasians and less than 5 percent of African Americans, said lead study author Lara Ray, an assistant professor of psychology and director of the UCLA Addictions Laboratory.

The findings are currently available online (http://1.usa.gov/ojdjPJ) in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology and will be published in an upcoming print edition of the journal.

The mutation in question is in the OPRM1 gene, which codes for the mu opioid receptors in the brain. People with “AG” or “GG” variants of OPRM1 have better clinical alcohol-treatment outcomes with naltrexone than those with the “AA” variant, Ray said, adding that approximately half of Asians have at least one copy of the “G” nucleotide at the particular location.

Ray’s laboratory conducted a study that tested the effect of naltrexone versus a placebo in heavy drinkers of Asian descent. In the study, 35 participants received alcohol in the laboratory through an infusion of ethanol that was the equivalent of two to three standard alcoholic drinks. They completed two alcohol sessions, one after taking naltrexone and one after taking a sugar pill.

“Our results revealed that naltrexone reduced the positive feelings of alcohol intoxication among individuals with the ‘AG’ or ‘GG’ genotypes but not among those with the ‘AA’ genotype,” said Ray, who is also a faculty member with the UCLA Brain Research Institute and the department of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the Semel Institute for Neurscience and Human Behavior at UCLA.

{snip}

Topics:

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • 11:08 PM

    Only a racist scientist would perform experiments that violate Equality. Asians should refuse to take racist medicine, just like blacks should refuse to think, speak, read, write, and sing in the White man’s racist English language, or use any of our White privilege inventions, like religion, education, government, hospitals, cars, phones, computer, clothes, and anything better than a witchdoctor for medicine.

    What can we do to help the blacks emancipate themselves from our racist White privilege inventions? What message does it send when they don’t boycott everything we’ve given to them?

  • Anonymous

    An individual’s DNA profile can now help fine tune his/her

    interface with personal diet. It is an ancient concept that

    food can be one’s s-l-o-w medicine. And the notion of average daily requirements is pretty much the anachronism it deserves to be. Individual differences so belie the utility of such a (largely commercially promotional) concept that it will soon be history.

    Reality is just not friendly to the “we’re all alike” blandishment.

  • White Guy In Japan

    Is alcoholism really a big problem among Asians? Many of them have trouble processing alcohol to begin with (Japanese, in particular). And so many of them don’t drink or only drink in moderation. Native Americans (or whatever we are calling them nowadays) have a tendency towards alcoholism, however.

    Stuff like this always catches my eye. The fact that the various subspecies of homo sapiens have different reactions to medicine is further proof that race is a biological reality. Despite what your anthropology professor would tell you.

  • Anonymous

    We can play the important edges with science and the determinist models of physics–and we should. But centerpiece (see William

    McDougall’s debate in the 20’s with John Watson ) is intent and

    choice (just as grandmother said ). Bill Wilson’s AA stands so

    very tall: My name is Bill, I’m an alcoholic. The direct and emphatic confrontation of what hurts and humbles–it can work

    miracles for a society, as well as for individuals. We hope.

  • Anonymous

    I have heard ( but have not verified or looked further ) that some AA meetings will consider as “alcoholic” someone who has not drunk at all but has immediate kin who have become alcoholic and/or has a DNA profile suggesting the biological predisposition to alcoholism.