Research says it appears alcohol activates violent behavior in people who have a specific overactive gene, London’s Daily Telegraph reported.
The gene, called MAOA, produces an enzyme that breaks down brain chemicals engaged with one’s mood, according to research from Helsinki University Central Hospital in Finland.
Researchers suggested that people may want to be screened in advanced for this gene so they can be treated in advance or abstain from alcohol.
The study involved watching 174 Finnish male alcoholic offenders, all of whom had histories of violence. Those who were born with an overactive MAOA gene tended to become more violent as they drank.
However, violent tendencies seem to diminish with age, which could explain why younger people who drink alcohol are more likely to fight, according to the research.
“Increased alcohol consumption and aging seem to predict violence, although these risk factors work in opposite directions, and only concern individuals who have been given by nature a high-activity variant of MAOA,” said Roope Tikkanen, one of the researchers from Helsinki University Central Hospital.
The results will be published in the March issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.