Alcoholism and Disorders Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1191 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Genetics

SAMPLE EXCERPT . . .
[Genome.Org 2002].

Gene Disorder

Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT;

116790) is an enzyme that plays a crucial role in the production of dopamine. It has been suggested in research that a functional genetic polymorphism or genetic disorder in the COMT gene results in 3- to 4- fold change in the enzyme activity and may contribute to mental disorders and alcoholism. [NCBI. 2003].

Researchers have also found a link between the leu7-to-pro polymorphism in the neuropeptide Y (NPY) gene and the chances of an individual developing alcoholism. [NCBI. 2003].

Alcoholism and genetic disorder

Recordings of the neuroelectric activity of the brain called Event-Related Brain Potentials measured by electrodes attached to the scalp and usually in response to some task indicate a reduction in the P3 component of alcoholic subjects. P3 is a positive peak in ERP approximately 300-600ms after a stimulus. The reduction in P3 levels is observed after long periods of abstinence from alcohol and it is also observed in the young naive sons of alcoholics. A similar abnormality was observed with N4 component of ERP. The changes in N4 ERP levels indicate a change in several chromosomal regions while the change in P3 level indicates changes in chromosome 4 and 5. [NCBI. 2003].

Genetic changes in alcohol preferring rats have also been linked to polymorphism in alpha-synuclein gene (SNCA;

163890). [NCBI. 2003].

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The organs that are affected due to alcoholism include the heart, (cardiomyopathy) the liver, (cirrhosis) and the pancreas, (pancreatitis). It is however rare for more then one of the organs to be effected. [NCBI. 2003].

Cure for alcoholism

Term Paper on Alcoholism and Disorders in the Assignment

Gene therapy is a relatively new technique for altering genes responsible for specific diseases and thus curing the disease. For Gene therapy to be successful the faulty genes must be identified and replaced by the genes without the defect causing the disease. Either viruses or stem cells can be used to replace the defective genes. Scientists now have the knowledge and the skills to replace the virus' own genes and replace them with healthy human genes. These altered genes can then be used to smuggle healthy genes into the human cells and replace defective genes. Some of the vectors are capable of not only carrying the healthy genes but also inserting them into human cells. Stem cells are immature cells which can differentiate and develop into cells with different functions. [Centre for Genetic Education. 2002].

At this point in time, however, gene therapy is not sufficiently developed and the linkage of alcoholism to genes is not fully understood to offer some magic treatment of alcoholism in spite of on going research and evidence of linkage of alcoholism with genetic disorder and inheritance. This is also the case with many other diseases which have genetic linkages.

Conclusion

In this paper, alcoholism which is a disease involving craving and addiction to alcohol is looked at from a genetic perspective. It is found that there is evidence to suggest that alcoholism is inherited and there is a genetic linkage. In spite of ongoing research into gene therapy there is at this point in time no magic gene therapy for alcoholism.

References

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA). "FAQ's on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism." May 14, 2002 at http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/faq/faq.htm

National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). "#103780 Alcoholism." August 15, 2003 at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/htbin-post/Omim/dispmim?103780

The Nemours Foundation. "The Basics on Genes and Genetic Disorders." May 2002 at http://www.kidshealth.org/teen/your_body/health_basics/genes_genetic_disorders_p3.html

Centre for Genetic Education. "Gene Therapy." May 2002 at http://www.genetics.com.au/Genetics2003/FactSheets/14.asp

Your Genome.org. "What is a genome?" Feb. 28, 2002 at http://www.yourgenome.org/primer/genomes [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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