A team of Quebec researchers has uncovered a series of genes linking the response to stress and high blood pressure with alcoholism and tobacco dependence.
If a person has that series of genes, he or she will be more prone to drink or smoke in order to cope with stress and high blood pressure, according to researchers.
“What that tells us is that it’s not only bad education or family behaviour that matters,” explained Dr. Pavel Hamet, who is leading the study of 120 families in the Saguenay Lac-St.-Jean region.
“The fight against alcohol and tobacco should not only be moralistic, but also give people ways to manage stress,” he said, adding that one in five persons has the predisposition.
He gave his findings at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress in Quebec City yesterday.
Hamet believes this discovery could explain why men are more prone to alcohol abuse than women.
His team found that the genes that govern alcohol intake appear on chromosome X. Men only have one chromosome X, while women have two.
“A man can only get his chromosome X from his mother, so he is more at risk than the woman who gets one from her mother and one from her father,” said Hamet, director of research at the University of Montreal Hospital Centre.
Hamet believes this study could be helpful to help high-risk people reduce stress and blood pressure, often leading to heart diseases and higher risks of getting a stroke.
Source: The Vancouver Province