Some people are more at risk of relapsing after alcohol treatment than others. The causes of alcoholism are cultural, psychological and social and, as it runs in families there is likely to be a genetic element to it as well. Researchers at the University of Warsaw studied 123 people with drink problems who were followed for a year to see how they got on after treatment. They found that a particular variation in a gene governing a substance called brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) was associated with an increased risk of relapse. BDNF is a protein found in the brain that helps nerve cells survive and connect with one another.
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