Sweet Tooth May Foretell of Alcoholism

That and novelty seeking may predict drinking problems down the road

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TUESDAY, Sept. 14, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- A combination of a sweet tooth and novelty seeking may predict alcoholism, suggests a study in the September issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Previous research found novelty seeking is more common among alcoholics. No link between liking sweets alone and alcoholism has been established.

In this study, researchers examined 165 people admitted to a drug and alcohol treatment program.

"The main finding of this study is that two independent and presumably heritable traits, such as sweet liking and high novelty seeking, separately were insufficient to predict alcoholism in our sample. However, if a person had both of these traits, he or she most likely was an alcoholic," study author Alexei B. Kampov-Polevoy, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, said in a prepared statement.

If further research confirms these findings, it may help lead to development of simple tests to assess a young person's risk of developing alcoholism later in life, Kampov-Polevoy said.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has more about alcoholism.

SOURCE: Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, news release, Sept. 14, 2004

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