Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Gene's Role in Opioid Addiction

     A recent study published in the journal Biological Psychiatry showed there is a possible link between the human gene and addiction to opioids. Researchers analyzed over 5,000 Americans that had been exposed to opioids. They analyzed the differences between those who developed a dependence to the pain killers and those who did not exhibit any signs of dependence. As an opioid epidemic is currently affecting a large portion of our population, it is imperative that we find a way to combat it. Researchers found a genetic abnormality on a chromosome. Located near gene RGMA, it has been associated with opioid dependence in European and also in African-Americans. As a testament to the quality of the research, members of the same team found other genetic variants that were closely related to opioid dependence in the past as well. They also discovered that through analyzing human gene expression in the brain that there was a direct correlation between the RGMA gene and a handful of other genes which have been linked to disorders like autism, Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia.

     This research is vital more than ever in society today. Millions of Americans suffer from opioid dependence across the country. With consequences as severe as death, this problem needs a solution and fast. And although this is merely a potential solution to the epidemic, it is still a step in the right direction. Also, they found correlations with the other disorders listed above. This research could serve as a stepping stone toward furthering our knowledge and possibly curing them in the long run. 

1 comment:

  1. I believe this is a really pressing issue in todays society. I also wrote a blog post about this genetic linkage. However, it is interesting that even though our medicine is so advanced we are unable to find a medicinal way to combat this issue. There are many obstacles including the immense amount of variables in each person who is affected by addiction. These variables include environment, family life, availability to drugs, etc.