Mexicans Carry Alcoholism Gene

Mexicans Carry Alcoholism Gene

Posted in the Immigration Reform Forum

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United States

#1 Nov 28, 2007
ScienceDaily (Nov. 26, 2007)— Mexican Americans make up 66 percent of the U.S. Hispanic population and, when compared to other ethnic groups, show high rates of heavy drinking and alcohol-related problems. First-of-its-kind research that examines haplotypes -- clusters of genetic polymorphisms -- of the CYP2E1 gene among a Mexican-American population has found that carrying haplotype H6 may enhance susceptibility to developing alcoholism.

"The prevalence rate of heavy drinking among male Mexican Americans is three times higher than that of non-Hispanic male populations," said Yu-Jui Yvonne Wan, professor of pharmacology and director of the Liver Center at the University of Kansas Medical Center. "Mexican Americans have also been found to have more alcohol-related problems -- such as withdrawal, tolerance, and accidents -- than Caucasians. Furthermore, Hispanics are more likely than Caucasians to continue their alcohol dependence once it begins."

Wan, who is the study's corresponding author, has been studying minority-health related issues for more than 15 years. She said that alcohol consumption by Hispanics also appears to lead to greater health-related complications.

"In comparison with Caucasians, Hispanics have a higher prevalence of hepatitis C, a serious infectious liver disease that greatly increases the risk for liver damage in heavy drinkers," she said. "Hispanics with alcoholic liver disease also appear to do significantly less well than those from other ethnic backgrounds."

Given the apparent susceptibility of Mexican Americans to alcohol-related problems, as well as previous inconsistent and inconclusive findings of the association between alcoholism and polymorphisms of the CYP2E1 gene, Wan designed her study to address both issues.

"Our study is the first to use a genetic haplotype approach to investigate an association of the four polymorphisms of the CYP2E1 gene -- CYP2E1*1D,*5B,*6, and *1B -- and alcoholism in the Mexican American population," she said. "A haplotype is the combination of marker alleles on a single chromosome. Haplotype analysis allows us to explore potential interactions among alleles and thus can be more informative than individual allele analysis."/p>

Researchers recruited 699 Mexican Americans living within a 50-mile radius of Los Angeles for this study: 334 alcoholics and 365 non-alcoholics or "controls." All participants provided blood samples and clinical data for genotype, allele, and haplotype frequency comparisons. Haplotypes were also tested for associations with clinical phenotypes such as age of drinking onset, maximum number of drinks within a 24-hour period, and smoking status.

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http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/...
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#2 Nov 28, 2007
Another valid reason why they need to get out!!

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