Skip to main content

Dangerous baby blues: new study suggests link between eye color and alcoholism

dangerous baby blues new study suggests link between eye color and alcoholism 3312989961 ac2fa8e998 o
Look Into My Eyes/Flickr
It’s all in the gaze — according to a new study, determining a risk for alcoholism may be as easy and obvious as looking into a patient’s eyes. Scientists from the University of Vermont recently published a series of new findings in the American Journal of Medical Genetics with the rather shocking suggestion that people with light-colored eyes may be at higher risk for alcoholism. Their research, says study author Arvis Sulovari, “suggests an intriguing possibility — that eye color can be useful in the clinic for alcohol dependence diagnosis.” While correlation is certainly not proof of causation, the relationship between the two is one that has captured the attention of the medical community.

The study followed 1,263 European Americans and controlled for factors such as age, sex, and genetics. Researchers concluded that among their sample population, those with light eyes (defined as blue, green, and grey) were more likely to exhibit signs of alcohol dependency than their dark-eyed counterparts. Moreover, among the light-eyed, subjects with blue eyes had the highest rate of alcohol dependency.

As it turns out, the genes that determine eye color are located on the same chromosome as those that control alcohol dependence. And as scientists found in this most recent study, there is a “statistically significant” interaction (defined as an affect of one gene on the behavior of another) between the eye color and alcoholism genes.

Despite this apparent relationship, there is still much mystery surrounding alcoholism and its compounding factors. Dawei Li, the lead author of the study, noted that, “Right now it’s a question for us — we don’t know what drives this.”

This is by no means the first time that eye color and alcoholism have been closely linked. In 2000, a study found that dark-eyed female subjects averaged 4.91 drinks in the previous month, while blue-eyed subjects averaged nearly an entire drink more at 5.78 alcoholic beverages.

Ultimately, says Li, the goal is to apply this knowledge in a medical setting in order to prevent this debilitating dependency. “That would be the our long-term [goal], that it could be applied to the clinic,” Li told ABC News today. “For me as a scientist, there is still a long way to go.”

Lulu Chang
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Fascinated by the effects of technology on human interaction, Lulu believes that if her parents can use your new app…
ClipDart is an on-demand barber app aimed at people of color
ClipDart founder, Kyle Parker.

It’s funny how we can take certain things for granted, like haircuts. Over the course of more than 50 years of living in different cities, different neighborhoods, or even visiting different countries, not once have I ever worried about whether I could find someone who could cut my hair the way I liked. Then again, I’m white.

But if you’re a person of color, it can be an entirely different experience. That’s what Kyle Parker discovered when he left his hometown of Chicago in 2013 to attend Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, population 9,031. While 24% of Grinnell College’s students identify themselves as people of color, fewer than 10% of residents of the city of Grinnell would say the same of themselves.

Read more
Circular confirms its $259 smart ring is coming to the U.S.
best wearables of ces 2022 circular ring

The Circular smart ring is finally going to be available for pre-order on Sunday, February 27, via the Circular website and will cost $259. The wearable tech will be available for presale in European countries (France, Germany, the U.K., and Italy,) the United States, Australia, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Pre-orders will go live at 1:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, February 27. Those who pre-order the smart ring should expect delivery between April and June 2022, according to a Circular press release.

Circular doesn't clarify what ring sizes will be available when presales go live, however, the company has said that seven sizes for both men and women will be available. Digital Trends has reached out for clarification on the available sizes, and will update this article when we hear back. The Circular smart ring also comes in four different colors that can be switched out with replaceable outer shells: Black, rose gold, silver, and gold.

Read more
How to take an ECG with your Apple Watch and see irregular heart notifications
ecg app apple watch

The ECG app is one of the most vital features of the Apple Watch, allowing you to see an electrocardiogram of your heart whenever you want. Along with this, the Apple Watch can notify you of irregular heart rhythms.

Read more