Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Alcoholism brought to Russia by the Mongols?

According to a January 19, 2004 TimesOnline article titled "Russians who get as drunk as a warlord", a Russian scientist claims that the alcoholic gene was brought to the Russians by the Mongol conquerors.
As many as 50 per cent of Muscovites are estimated to have inherited Mongol genes that make them absorb more alcohol into the bloodstream and break it down at a slower rate than most Europeans, they say.

That means that they get more drunk and have worse hangovers, and are more likely to become addicted to alcohol, given Russia’s taste for vodka, its harsh climate and the social and economic chaos after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

“The way they get drunk is completely different. They are also more likely to feel aggressive or depressed,” Dr Nuzhny said. “They do not necessarily look Mongolian, but the gene that governs how they metabolise alcohol is Mongoloid.”
The article also mentions that "Dr Nuzhny’s research is partly funded by pharmaceutical companies trying to develop drugs to cure hangovers and alcoholism." Made me laugh. Here I was, thinking that the Soviets brought alcoholism to Mongolia, when in fact, it seems we are the ones who screwed them over with our alcoholism-prone genes.