Parsing Genetically Influenced Risk Pathways: Genetic Loci Impact Problematic Alcohol Use Via Externalizing and Specific Risk

  In this analysis, we parsed the genetic variance of problematic alcohol use (ALCP) into that which is shared with other externalizing traits and that which is not. The genetic correlations for the ALCP-specific variance differ for correlations with ALCP that includes variance which overlaps with externalizing. The ALCP-specific variance is primarily associated with alcohol […]

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How Do Our Genes Influence Risk for Alcohol Problems?

Some people are more at risk for developing alcohol problems than others and part of the reason lies in our genes. Researchers are working on finding the specific genes associated with alcohol problems, and then mapping the complex pathways by which these genes influence alcohol use outcomes and interact with the environment. Check out Translational […]

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Alcohol Use Disorder, Psychiatric Comorbidities, Marriage and Divorce in a High-risk Sample

  Previous studies demonstrate the associations between alcohol use disorders (AUD) and marital outcomes in general population samples, and the associations between AUD and marital outcomes have tangible costs, because a body of work shows links between marriage with better health and well-being. This study made use of data from the Collaborative Study on the […]

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Binge and High-Intensity Drinking – Laboratory Assessment and Underlying Risk Factors

  Some patterns of alcohol consumption are riskier than others. How rapid consumption of alcohol contributes to the increased risk of alcohol use disorder is unclear. We developed an experiment in which participants were given specific control over how quickly their breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) changes, and then tested for relationships to risky drinking patterns. […]

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The Research is In: It’s Nature AND Nurture

Science tells us that both our genes AND our environments shape the likelihood that we will develop problems with alcohol use. Because the COGA study has a wealth of data on both genetics and environments, our investigators are uniquely positioned to explore both simultaneously. See the summaries of a few recent publications to better understand […]

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The Importance of Genes When Determining Risk

  Alcohol use disorder is genetically influenced, but there’s no one gene that influences risk. We can now measure one’s genetic vulnerability to some common disorders using polygenic risk scores (PRS), which combine the effects of many genes into a single risk score. At the moment, PRS summarize only a small portion of an individual’s […]

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Exploring Externalizing Behavior in COGA

man drinking alcohol bottle next to DNA strand

“Externalizing” refers to a spectrum of behaviors and disorders related to impulse control. It includes substance use disorders, behavioral outcomes like risky sex, and childhood outcomes like ADHD or behavior problems. One of the ways genes influence risk for alcohol use disorders is through externalizing pathways. COGA investigators have been at the front line of […]

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News You Can Use: How does Service Use for Alcohol Problems Relate to your Generation?

A seated young man is in a session with a female therapist

What was studied and why? Understanding the context around why people seek out help and treatment (aka services) for alcohol problems can help researchers and clinicians to better study and support those same individuals’ treatment and recovery. Service use patterns for alcohol problems have changed over the years, whether it be due to policy (e.g., […]

Posted in Development/Progression, Environmental Factors, News, Other

Alcohol sensitivity as a risk factor for heavy drinking and alcohol problems

strands of DNA

General background about how genes contribute to alcohol use disorder risks: The pattern of causes of alcohol use disorders are typical of most diseases such as heart attacks and diabetes in that genes contribute to the risk in the context of the environment and a person’s opinions and attitudes (e.g., Schuckit et al., 2011, 2012b). […]

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