Researchers using PET discovered that people with the 118G genetic variant to the mu-opioid receptor found in the brain's reward system showed a dopamine response to alcohol. Dopamine is responsible for transmitting euphoria and other alcohol-related effects. "The findings add further support to the notion that individuals who possess this receptor variant may experience enhanced pleasurable effects from alcohol that could increase their risk for developing alcohol abuse and dependence," the first author of the study said.

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