Chicago: In one more reason why teenagersshould stay away from binge-drinking, a new study has claimedthe habit may increase their risk of developing osteoporosisbesides other long-lasting health hazards.
Binge drinking is defined as a woman having at least fourdrinks or a man having at least five drinks on one occasion.Heavy binge drinkers can consume 10 to 15 drinks. The habittypically begins around age 13 and peaks between 18 and 22,before gradually decreasing. A 2008 study by Callaci and colleagues had found thatadolescent rats exposed to alcohol in amounts comparable tothat of binge drinkers had 15 per cent less bone build-up thancontrol rats exposed to saline solution. But the new study examined the effects of binge drinkingon genes of rats, who were given injections of alcohol thatresulted in a blood alcohol level of 0.28. A motorist with ablood alcohol level higher than 0.08 is legally drunk. During the research, rats were exposed to binge amountsof alcohol on either three consecutive days (acute binge) orthree consecutive days for four weeks in a row (chronicbinge). Then they were compared to a group of control rats whoreceived saline. It was found that about 300 bone-related genes weredisrupted in rats exposed to acute binge drinking and 180bone-related genes were disrupted in rats exposed to chronicbinge drinking. In the affected genes, alcohol either increased ordecreased the amount of associated RNA, which serves as thetemplate for making proteins, the building blocks of bones andother tissue. According to the researchers, this change in how genesare expressed disrupted molecular pathways responsible fornormal bone metabolism and maintenance of bone mass. In one of the most disturbing findings, they discoveredthat the gene disruption was long-lasting. Even after 30 daysof sobriety, the genes still were being expressed differently. Thirty days in a rat`s lifespan is roughly equivalent toabout three years in a human lifespan. The researchers said the findings might help in thedevelopment of new drugs to minimise bone loss in alcoholabusers and in other people who are at risk for osteoporosisfor other reasons. "If we understand the mechanism of bone loss, eventuallywe will be able to figure out how to fix it," Callaci said,adding that the best way to prevent alcohol-induced bone loss,however, is to drink moderately or not at all. PTI
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