'Drunk And Disorderly' Gene To Blame For Recklessness?

First Posted: Nov 17, 2015 02:31 PM EST

In some cases, a genetic mutation may be to blame for particularly impulsive and reckless behaviors when drunk, according to a recent study.

Researchers at the University of Helsinki found that over 100,000 Finns carry this mutation--otherwise known as a point mutation in a gene of serotonin 2B receptor that can render the carrier prone to impulsive behavior--particularly when intoxicated.

"The results also indicate that persons with this mutation are more impulsive by nature even when sober, and they are more likely to struggle with self-control or mood disorders," said lead study author and psychiatrist Roope Tikkanen, PhD, in a news release.

Though relatively little is known about the function of the serotonin 2B receptor in humans, it is thought to be linked to impulsivity that can also come with a number of mental health problems. Researchers found the mutation present in 2.2 percent of the population--meaning that over 100,000 Finns are carriers of it.

The findings are based on long-term research cooperation between the University of Helsinki Psychiatry Clinic and the Dr. David Goldman's laboratory of neurogenetics at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in the United States.

One day, researchers believe the study results might explain the role of serotonin 2B receptor in the health of any given population. Moreover, increasing knowledge of the function of the serotonin 2B receptor may lead to new pharmacological innovations, since no medications specific to it are presently available.

The study is published in the journal Translational Psychiatry.

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