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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Gene Mutations May Increase Cocaine Related Deaths

As our understanding of genetics moves forward scientists are constantly coming across some alarming facts. New research has shown that there are people with common genetic mutations who have an almost eightfold increased risk of dying from cocaine abuse. According to researchers, the mutations affect the chemical messenger dopamine in the brain causing the increased risk.

What is Dopamine? 

Dopamine has a number of important physiological roles in the bodies of humans and animals, alike. Dopamine is vital to the functioning of the central nervous system. When someone consumes cocaine, they block transporters in the brain from absorbing dopamine, HealthDay reports.

Researchers at Ohio State University discovered the mutations on two different genes. They found about one in three white people who died of cocaine abuse had these genetic mutations. A different combination of mutations affects the risk of dying from cocaine abuse in black people, the researchers noted in a news release.

The study appears in the journal Translational Psychiatry.
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