Eye Color Linked to Alcoholism
New research at the University of Vermont in Burlington suggests that people with light-colored eyes may be at an increased risk of alcohol abuse compared to their darker-eyed peers.
To conduct their study, published in the American Journal of Medical Genetics, the researchers analyzed information from a clinical and genetic database of more than 10,000 people who had been diagnosed with at least one psychiatric illness, including depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and drug or alcohol dependence. The team included 1,263 alcohol-dependent Americans with European ancestry in their final analysis, and assessed the genetic samples of each individual.
The results showed that individuals with light-colored eyes, especially those with blue eyes, were at higher risk of alcohol dependence than people with brown eyes. These results remained the same after being retested three times, accounting for participants’ age, gender, ethnicity and geographical location.
Additionally, the team also found associations between genes related to eye color and genes related to alcohol dependence, but that the mechanisms underlying the link between eye color and alcohol dependence are unclear. The research team acknowledged that more studies will need to be conducted to understand the association.