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Alcohol-dependent individuals with a family history of alcoholism or problem drinking exhibited reduced brain growth compared to alcohol-dependent people with no family history of alcohol problems, according to new research from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

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Parental Drinking Stunts Brain Growth in Alcoholic Kids, Study Suggests

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Parental Drinking Stunts Brain Growth in Alcoholic Kids, Study Suggests

JoinTogether.org

Friday, February 23, 2007 Alcohol-dependent individuals with a family history of alcoholism or problem drinking exhibited reduced brain growth compared to alcohol-dependent people with no family history of alcohol problems, according to new research from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

Researchers said the findings showed that alcohol-related brain damage can be caused not only by heavy drinking but also genetics and environmental factors. "Our study is the first to demonstrate that brain size among alcohol-dependent individuals with a family history of alcoholism is reduced even before the onset of alcohol dependence," said study lead author Jodi Gilman of Brown University.

The NIAAA researchers used MRI scans to measure brain volume. They found that the average intracranial volume of adult alcoholic children of alcoholics was 4 percent lower than that of adult alcoholics with no family history of alcohol problems.

The study was published in the online edition of the journal Biological Psychiatry.

Reference:

Gilman, J.M., James M. Bjorka, J.M., Hommer, D.W. (2007) Parental Alcohol Use and Brain Volumes in Early- and Late-Onset Alcoholics. Biological Psychiatry, Article in Press; doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2006.10.029.

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