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The genetic mutation common in East Asians that causes the flushing syndrome when alcohol is consumed can be repaired by a new compound called Alda-1, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) announced last week. The mutation, which causes an enzyme defect, is associated with a lower risk for alcoholism, but is also linked to an increase in other problems, including heart problems.
Sam Zakhari, Ph.D., director of NIAAA's Division of Metabolism and Health Effects, explained that Alda-1 is not being considered for the treatment of alcoholism--on the contrary. "This may increase drinking," he told ADAW last week. But it would decrease other problems, he said.
For example, Alda-1 could treat the mutation's effect of reducing the efficacy of nitroglycerin, a medication to treat angina. It could prevent heart attacks in that way. …