Gene That Makes People Behave Like Idiots When Drunk Could Also Protect Against Diabetes
A genetic mutation that has been found to cause people to act outrageously when they’re drunk also appears to lower the risk of certain metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity. Peculiarly, the mutation has so far only been found in Finnish people, and is thought to affect around 100,000 people in the Nordic country.
The mutation in question inhibits the production of serotonin 2B receptors. Since serotonin is a key regulator of mood and behavior, the absence of this receptor unsurprisingly leads to an inability to control one’s actions, and has been blamed for some of the violent, reckless, and downright stupid conduct of some people when drunk.
In a new study appearing in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, scientists from the University of Helsinki reveal how carriers of this mutation also have higher insulin sensitivity (IS) and lower insulin resistance (IR) than non-carriers. Insulin is a hormone that facilitates the transportation of glucose from the bloodstream into body cells. As such, when cells become insensitive or resistant to insulin, this process grinds to a halt, leading to a rise in blood sugar levels and potentially type 2 diabetes.
The researchers recruited 98 Finnish men, all of whom had been diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). Of these, nine were found to carry the mutation – called HTR2B Q20* - while 89 did not. The study authors then measured the serum glucose and insulin levels of all participants in order to calculate IS and IR indices, discovering that the mutant group was much better off on both measures.
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