April 23, 2009
Study Finds Genetic Link to Impulsive Behavior
Many previous studies have shown that alcoholics and drug addicts tend to exhibit highly impulsive behavior. A new study involving mice found that genes influence impulsive behavior, which could contribute to the risk for developing such an addiction.
In the study, researchers used selective breeding to obtain mice genetically predisposed to drink alcohol. Scientists found that mice that had the genes to drink were more impulsive than their low-drinking counterparts.
Researchers said identifying children or adolescents with high levels of impulsivity might, in theory, allow doctors to identify those at risk for developing a substance-abuse disorder.
The study's authors said now that their findings have suggested a genetic component to impulsive behavior, future studies could shed light on which genes are important in impulsive decision making and which genes are shared with the propensity to develop a substance-use disorder.
SOURCE: Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, July 2009