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Health Agencies Update
May 28, 2014

Damaged Mitochondria May Link Alcohol and Muscle Weakness

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JAMA. 2014;311(20):2057. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.5762

Mitochondrial damage in muscle tissue may explain why chronic drinking leads to muscle weakness, according to a study funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Alcoholism has long been associated with muscle weakness and long-term muscle deterioration. Previous evidence had suggested that damage to mitochondria or perturbations in calcium signaling may explain these adverse effects. The new study in animals finds that chronic alcohol exposure interferes with a gene that facilitates mitochondrial fusion, a repair process in muscle tissue (Eisner V et al. J Cell Biol. doi:10.1083/jcb.201312066 [published online April 21, 2014]).

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