People with blue eyes could have a higher risk of becoming alcoholics, according to a new study.
The American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics published an article this week in which researchers found that European-Americans with light-colored eyes have higher rates of alcohol dependence.
Researchers at the University of Vermont said the link was especially prevalent among blue-eyed individuals.
The work on the study was done by Arvis Sulovari, a doctoral student in molecular and biomedical sciences, and Dr. Dawei Li, an assistant professor of microbiology and molecular genetics, Ph.D.
“This suggests an intriguing possibility – that eye color can be useful in the clinic for alcohol dependence diagnosis,” Sulovari said in a university news release.
Sulovari and Li said that those with light-colored eyes, including green, grey and brown in the center, had higher incidences of alcohol dependency than those with dark brown eyes.
The study suggests the genetic components that determine eye color shows that they line up along the same chromosome as the genes related to excessive alcohol use.
“We still don’t know the reason,” Li said.
Li explained that more research was needed to understand the link.
“These are complex disorders,” he said. “There are many genes, and there are many environmental triggers.”
For the study, Sulovari and Li delved into a database of more than 10,000 individuals, mostly African Americans and European Americans, who had been diagnosed with at least one psychiatric illness.
From there, they filtered out the alcohol-dependent patients.
They said they noticed the eye-color connection in the results.
More information on the study can be found on the university’s website here.
For more on the American Journal article, click here.
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