You know your friend who always seems to get you into trouble when he’s drunk? Well, here’s another reason to hate that guy. Recent research out of Finland suggests that a gene mutation that causes people to be aggressive when they’re drunk may also protect them against obesity and related risks like diabetes. That’s right: Your crazy drunk friend is going to outlive you… assuming he doesn’t get himself killed first.
The study, conducted at the University of Helsinki and published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, looked at 98 Finnish men between the ages of 25 and 30 who had all been diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder. The researchers then looked for a point mutation in a gene of serotonin 2B receptor, which has been shown to cause impulsive behavior, especially after a little liquor. What they discovered is that those who had this “aggressive drunk” gene had a lower BMI and higher insulin sensitivity, which in turn creates a lower risk for type 2 diabetes.
“It is fascinating to think that this receptor mutation which has been passed through the chain of evolution would impact both the brain as impulsive behaviour and energy metabolism,” University of Helsinki psychiatrist and lead author Dr Roope Tikkanen said in a press release.
Okay, sure, it’s “fascinating,” but why are these things tied together? “We could speculate that the compound effect the mutation and testosterone have on energy metabolism may have been beneficial in the cool, nutrition-poor environment after the Ice Age, particularly for men with a high physiological level of testosterone – they would have survived with a lower calorie intake,” Tikkanen continued. “Simultaneously, the aggression associated with high levels of testosterone may have helped them compete for food.” What I think the doctor is saying is that your drunk friend is just hungry. Take him to Taco Bell. You wanted to go their anyway.
Still, the Ice Age was a long time ago. So though the gene may have been beneficial in the past, now it just turns your drinking buddy into a nightmare. There is a silver lining, however: Next time your drunk friend wants to jump over a fence and fight a wild tiger, look him dead in the eyes and tell him, “Dude, I’ve never seen you looking this healthy!”