Report Alcohol can cause irreversible genetic damage to stem cells, says study

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  1. tom_mai78101

    tom_mai78101 The Helper Connoisseur / Ex-MineCraft Host Staff Member

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    Alcohol can cause irreversible genetic damage to the body’s reserve of stem cells, according to a study that helps explain the link between drinking and cancer.

    The research, using genetically modified mice, provides the most compelling evidence to date that alcohol causes cancer by scrambling the DNA in cells, eventually leading to deadly mutations.

    During the past decade, there has been mounting evidence of the link between drinking and the risk of certain cancers.

    “How exactly alcohol causes damage to us is controversial,” said Prof Ketan Patel, who led the work at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge. “This paper provides very strong evidence that an alcohol metabolite causes DNA damage [including] to the all-important stem cells that go on to make tissues.”

    The study builds on previous work that had pinpointed a breakdown product of alcohol, called acetaldehyde, as a toxin that can damage the DNA within cells. However, these earlier studies had relied on extremely high concentrations of acetaldehyde and used cells in a dish rather than tracking its effects within the body.

    The latest work showed that acetaldehyde slices through DNA, causing permanent damage, if the effects of the toxin are not neutralised by two natural defence mechanisms. The first tier of defence clears away the acetaldehyde and the second repairs the DNA damage.


    Read more here. (The Guardian UK)
     

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