Scientists from Rutgers and Yale universities selected people and divided them into several groups: those who do not drink alcohol, those who drink moderately, those who abuse alcohol, and alcoholics. Scientists wanted to compare the state of two genes: PER2, which is responsible for sleep and wakefulness, that is, for the regulation of the biological clock, and POMC (proopiomelanocortin), which controls the body's response to stress. It turned out that in people from the last two groups methylation of these two genes occurred - a modification of the molecules. Scientists also noticed a decrease in gene expression - the rate at which genes create proteins.
In the framework of the same study, scientists conducted an experiment: participants were shown images related to stress, alcohol or neutral content.
They were also shown containers with beer, after which the participants tasted it, and the researchers evaluated their desire to drink. As a result, scientists came to the following conclusion: changes caused by alcohol in the genes of alcoholics and those who abuse alcohol are associated with an increase in craving for alcohol.
According to one of the authors of the study, such results will help explain why alcohol is addictive, and, possibly, further find a way to treat alcoholism and save people from this affection.
According to the World Health Organization, in 2016, more than three million people died from excessive alcohol consumption. This is 5% of all deaths in the world.