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    Genetic Risks for Nicotine Dependence Span a Range of Traits and Diseases



    Summary: Higher polygenetic risk scores for schizophrenia, depression, neuroticism, and alcohol use disorder are indicators for higher risk of nicotine dependence.

    Source: Emory University.

    Some people casually smoke cigarettes for a short span of time and then they quit without a problem, while others develop long-term, several packs-per-day habits. A compound mix of environmental, behavioral and genetic factors appear to increase this risk for nicotine dependence.

    Studies on groups of twins suggest that 40 to 70 percent of the risk factors are genetic. Until recently, however, studies have only explained about 1 percent of the observed change in liability to nicotine dependence, using a genetic score based on how many cigarettes a person smokes per day.

    A new research carried out by psychologists at Emory University offers a new model for examining this genetic risk. It influenced genome-wide association studies for a range of different traits and disorders associated with nicotine dependence and explained 3.6 percent of the variation in nicotine dependence.

    Higher polygenetic scores for a risk for schizophrenia, depression, neuroticism, a high body mass index, alcohol use disorder, self-reported risk-taking, along with a higher number of cigarettes smoked per day were all signs of a higher risk for dependence on nicotine, the study found. And polygenetic scores associated with higher education attainment reduced the risk for nicotine dependence, the results showed.

    The researchers believe that others will build on their multi-trait, polygenetic model and continue to enrich the understanding of the risk for such complex disorders.

    Published: Emory University.

    Contact: Carol Clark, Emory University.

    Details: Image source Unsplash


    Hi, I’m Aarti, My Psychoanalytical approach towards my clients is to empower them to better their lives through improving their relationship with themselves. I believe shame and guilt is a common barrier to change. I aim to guide my clients through re authoring their narratives where shame, guilt, and other problems have less power and take up less space.

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