Genetics and biological markers of risk for alcoholism.
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Genetics and biological markers of risk for alcoholism.

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      Public Health Rep
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      Substantial scientific evidence has accumulated that both genetic and environmental factors predispose the development of alcoholism in certain individuals. Evidence has accumulated to indicate that alcoholism is a heterogeneous entity arising from multiple etiologies. The demonstrated role of genetics in increasing the risk of alcoholism has promoted the search for biological markers that could objectively identify individuals who are genetically predisposed to alcoholism. Identifying such markers could allow for early diagnosis, focused prevention, and differential and type-specific treatment of alcoholism. Promising markers have been provided by research in electrophysiology, endocrinology, and biochemistry. Recent advances in molecular genetics are offering prospects for direct analysis of the human genome to determine elements that provide predisposition to, and protection from, alcoholism. Recent advances in research and new knowledge gained by the alcoholism treatment community and the lay public are helping to diminish the societal damage caused by alcohol abuse and alcoholism and to change prevailing attitudes about them.
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