Education may be the key to reduce the risk of alcohol dependence, according to a new study. Too much alcohol can lead to serious health issues and even premature death. Researchers say in order to improve treatment strategies and intervention it is important to know how much alcohol is too much.
Multipl studies have found educational attainment could help reduce the risk of alcohol addiction. But the results have been conflicting. In the new study, a team from the National Institutes of Health (US)used two-sample Mendelian randomisation statistical methods to test the effects of educational attainment on alcohol. The team took genetic data generated by international genomics consortiums to study a set of 53 genetic variants that have been linked with differences in educational attainment.
"Using data from a total of approximately 780,000 study participants, we found that genetic variants associated with an additional 3.61 years of schooling were associated with an approximately 50% reduced risk of alcohol dependence," Dr Falk Lohoff told a news portal.
Adding, "The presence of genetic variants associated with educational attainment also affected the pattern of alcohol use and type of alcoholic beverage people consumed."
The team found genetic variants linked with higher educational attainment was not linked with the total amount of alcohol people drank in a week. However, it reduced the frequency of binge drinking. It also helped reduce the frequency of memory loss due to drinking, and the amount of drinks per day.
"It is important to understand that while these genetic variants allow us to investigate the possible effect of educational attainment on alcohol consumption and alcohol dependence, this doesn't mean that educational attainment can't be modified. The possible effect of educational attainment on drinking that we show in this study, suggests that increasing educational attainment may be a useful target for prevention programs against problematic alcohol use, alcohol dependence, and their consequences," Dr Lohoff told a news portal.
Researchers note they need to further investigate the associating before formulating a treatment plan around it. The study's findings were originally published in Molecular Psychiatry.
Picture Courtesy: Google Images