College Attendance Boosts Heavy Drinking In Students At Genetic Risk

Armen Hareyan's picture
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College attendance exacerbates the inborn propensity of certain young adults to become heavy alcohol users.

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The implications of the findings aren't clear, said study lead author David Timberlake, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of California at Irvine. Still, he said, "if your genetic makeup predisposes you toward drinking, it may be even more enhanced by attending college."

To judge by surveys, colleges are full of heavy drinkers. According to a 1999 study by Harvard University, 44 percent of college students surveyed said they'd engaged in binge drinking within the previous two weeks. Binge drinking is defined as downing five drinks within two hours for men and four drinks within two hours for women.

The new study was designed to figure out if people who are genetically predisposed to become alcoholics would find themselves in special jeopardy if they attended college. In other words, how do genetics

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