Maybe you ring in the New Year with one to many.
Maybe you just keep it to a glass of wine at night with dinner.
New research suggests that alcohol intake can lead to permanent genetic damage.
A missing part of the whole puzzle is how precisely alcohol causes damage to usand what our research shows is that alcohol as it’s being processed by the bodyand converted into energy transiently accumulates as a toxin which attacks DNA in a fundamental mannerand damages the genetic information that constitutes the code of life.
The toxin is called acetaldehyde.
It is produced when the body processes alcohol and research suggests it can damage human cells in a fundamental way.
This can happen at the level of an a very important cell type known as the stem celland that’s important because the stem cell is a cell that goes on to make many different types of cellsand it’s the regenerating cell in our bodies.
And all that genetic damage can do harm even deadly harm to the human body.
We showed that the chromosomes from these blood cells are fundamentally alteredand this is important because altered chromosomes or alter altered DNA is the basis ofwhy cells ultimately gone to age or accumulate the changes that make them cancerous.
The body has an enzyme that breaks down acetaldehyde.
Patel tested what alcohol does to cells without it.
Say in mice when we take away the enzyme that clears the toxin as well as this DNA repair pathway.Then very small amounts of alcohol cause violent damage to the cells that produce blood.
Also most people have a range of DNA repair systems，but Patel says binge drinking can overwhelm those lines of defense and do serious genetic damage.
Carol Pearson VOA news Washington