IT IS a happy coincidence that the Archives of General Psychiatry is presenting a superb group of articles on alcoholism in this issue. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) is celebrating its 25th anniversary during this academic year, and much of the research described in these articles was supported by the NIAAA. The Editorial Board has kindly invited me to introduce this issue. I think the best way of doing that is to comment on major conceptual advances made during the last decades, with some illustrations from current research.
A SIGNIFICANT FRACTION OF VULNERABILITY TO ALCOHOLISM IS INHERITED
That alcoholism runs in families has long been known, but only since the 1970s has a mix of twin and adoption studies demonstrated that much of this vulnerability is inherited. The important Swedish adoption study of Cloninger et al1 has recently been replicated.2 What is inherited is
Gordis E. Alcohol ResearchAt the Cutting Edge. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1996;53(3):199-201. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1996.01830030017004