DNA Markers May Differentiate Heavy From Light Alcohol Users

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Chunyu Liu, PhD
The Population Sciences Branch, Division of Intramural Research
The Framingham Heart Study, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
Framingham, MA
Department of Biostatistics
Boston University School of Public Health
Boston, MA

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Excessive alcohol consumption contributes to many diseases as well as to injuries and deaths. The lack of reliable measures of alcohol intake is a major obstacle to the diagnosis and treatment of alcohol-related diseases. Our study has identified a group of DNA markers in blood that could provide the basis for a reliable blood test to detect heavy alcohol use.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Alcohol consumption induces chemical modifications to our DNA, which may be the turning point for many alcohol-related diseases. This study identified a few hundred DNA modifications that as a group are able to discriminate between heavy alcohol drinkers and nondrinkers or light drinkers.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

We hope this study can facilitate the following research directions:
1. Development of a clinically reliable blood test to detect current heavy alcohol use.
2. Studies of the downstream consequences of alcohol-induced DNA changes; that is, the investigation of relationship between alcohol-induced modifications to DNA methylation and alcohol-related diseases.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Liu et al. Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication 15 November 2016; doi: 10.1038/mp.2016.192 http://www.nature.com/mp/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/mp2016192a.html

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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