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Drinkers’ Red Face May Signal Cancer Risk
People whose faces turn red when they drink alcohol may be facing more than embarrassment. The flushing may indicate an increased risk for a deadly throat cancer, researchers report.
The flushing response, which may be accompanied by nausea and a rapid heartbeat, is caused mainly by an inherited deficiency in an enzyme called ALDH2, a trait shared by more than a third of people of East Asian ancestry — Japanese, Chinese or Koreans. As little as half a bottle of beer can trigger the reaction.
The deficiency results in problems in metabolizing alcohol, leading to an accumulation of a toxin called acetaldehyde in the body. People with two copies of the gene responsible have such unpleasant reactions that they are unable to consume large amounts of alcohol. This aversion actually protects them against the increased risk for cancer.
But those with only one copy can develop a tolerance to acetaldehyde and become heavy drinkers.
“What we’re trying to do here is raise awareness of this risk factor among doctors and their ALDH2-deficient patients,” said Philip J. Brooks, an investigator with the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and an author of the report published Monday in the journal PLoS Medicine. “It’s a pretty serious risk.”
The malignancy, called squamous cell esophageal cancer, is also caused by smoking and can be treated with surgery, but survival rates are low. Even moderate drinking increases the risk, but it rises sharply with heavier consumption. An ALDH2-deficient person who has two beers a day has 6 to 10 times the risk of developing esophageal cancer as a person not deficient in the enzyme.
Reducing drinking can significantly reduce the incidence of this cancer among Asian adults. The researchers calculate that if ALDH2-deficient Japanese men reduced their weekly consumption to fewer than nine drinks, 53 percent of esophageal squamous cell cancers in that group could be prevented.
With their drinking problems behind them, studies show recovered alcoholics may still face social disorders or deficits. According to ABC News, a recent Boston-based study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs compared the brain function of a group of former alcoholics with the brain function….
Did you know that your support system can make all the difference when you enter into drug treatment? The social support systems that are integrated into drug treatment programs can have dramatic effects on the success of the overall treatment program, especially for those whose addictions are highly psychological in matter. A strong social support….
Alcohol is being used as a tool to mask the inner demons of the middle classes, the chief executive of a new body to tackle substance abuse claimed last night. Binge drinking – commonly perceived as a problem associated with rowdy town and city centres – is equally evident in homes across Wales, according to….
Scottish ministers have stepped up their campaign to introduce minimum pricing on alcohol after Russia yesterday became the latest country to introduce a floor price on spirits. Russia’s national drink, vodka, will be sold for at least £1.80, doubling the price of the cheapest brands available in the country. The move was ordered by Russian….
Anorexia eating disorder occurs in people who are insecure and have a very negative body image. Eating disorder largely affects a person’s physical and mental health leading to medical complications. Anorexia nervosa is a type of eating order. People with the anorexia eating disorder are very conscious about their looks and fear weight gain. Therefore,….