Drug use linked to impulsiveness in genetic study

2-10-2019 addiction inyt articlelarge
Image credit: Stuart Bradford/New York Times

Some of the same genes that influence a person’s propensity toward impulsiveness also affect whether or not he or she will use drugs, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.

For this work, and a study [psychologist Abraham] Palmer and his team did last year that also looked at another measure of impulsivity called “delay discounting,” the researchers compared genetic data with survey responses on impulsivity and a history of drug use from 23andMe customers who consented to participate in research. The genome-wide association study found variants in the gene CADM2 — previously implicated in risk-taking, alcohol consumption, and cannabis use — associated with impulsivity and drug use. The team also identified an association with a variant in a gene previously implicated in schizophrenia risk — CACNA1I. They also saw an association with something called “negative urgency”— a tendency to act impulsively in the face of adversity.

Related article:  Good and potentially bad about FDA's greenlighting of 23andMe direct-to-consumer BRCA mutation tests

These findings demonstrate how an individual’s genetic makeup may predispose them to engage in risky behavior, including drug use and abuse.

Additional studies of younger and more diverse populations could provide further insights.

Read full, original post: Genetic Study of Impulsiveness Reveals Associations with Drug Use

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