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Neanderthal DNA: A Clue to Addiction and Depression? | News Roundup

All Sober compiles the best of the latest headlines. Here's your addiction and recovery news for the week of Nov. 21, 2022!

Neanderthal DNA: A Clue to Addiction and Depression? | News Roundup

Neanderthal DNA May Provide Clues About the Genetic Risks for Brain Disorders and Addiction | Neuroscience News

"'The significant associations of Neanderthal DNA with alcohol and smoking habits might help us to unravel the evolutionary origin of addictive and reward-seeking behavior,' said Stefan M. Gold, professor of neuropsychiatry at Charité, Berlin, who co-led the study. [But] 'there are some intriguing findings from anthropology that have suggested some social benefits of higher tolerance to these substances in hunter-gatherers.'"

In 2009, the Neanderthal genome was sequenced, an achievement that earned the lead scientist the Nobel Prize in Medicine last month. Since then, researchers have investigated how that hominid's genes might affect our own: Present-day homo sapiens each carry around 2% of Neanderthal DNA, and studies have shown potential links to behavioral patterns and mental health disorders.

Photo by Jakub Hałun / CC BY-SA 4.0

Deaths Caused by Alcohol Use in the U.S. Spiked During the COVID-19 Pandemic, CDC Data Shows | CNN Health

"[Alcohol use] killed more than 49,000 people in 2020, according to data published Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.The alcohol-induced death rate has been steadily increasing in recent decades, but it jumped 26% between 2019 and 2020—making nearly the same climb in one year as over the decade before. … 'What’s a word bigger than crisis?' said Marvin Ventrell, chief executive officer of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers. 'What was already a crisis, has exploded.'"

Macklemore Explains How His Sobriety Journey Inspired New Song 'Faithful' | Billboard

"'Recovery has been a huge part of my life the last 14 years. I first went to treatment in 2008. I’ve always had the allergy; the disease of addiction was present from my first drink of alcohol,' Macklemore explained. 'Going into "Faithful," the pandemic happens. I was removed from my recovery community, everything’s on Zoom—I’m used to going to meetings and being a part of a community—all of the sudden that’s stripped away from us and I relapsed. I relapsed in 2020."

The ADA Covers Addiction. Now the U.S. Is Enforcing the Law | STAT News

"'There is resistance to seeing those as medical conditions or disabilities,' Elizabeth Pendo, a professor of law at St. Louis University, said about substance use disorders. Instead, some people view them mainly as the ongoing consequences of bad decisions or lack of willpower. 'Those misperceptions, those biases, those assumptions, they linger, and they’re harming people,' Pendo said."

In Case You Missed It: Week of Nov. 14

Leslie Jordan Was More Than Two Decades Sober: 'The Hardest Thing That I Ever Did' | People

"Jordan said alcohol gave him confidence and self-acceptance through his 30s. 'I felt it was a lot easier to be gay when I was loaded,' he said. 'The hardest thing that I ever did was getting sober, but I was so scared to go back to jail.' Jordan got sober in the late '90s and was a member of a 12-step program for more than two decades prior to his death. He died in a car crash on Monday in Hollywood, California, after an apparent medical emergency."

The beloved actor of Will & Grace and American Horror Story fame became an Instagram sensation during the pandemic. Following his death at 67 in a car crash last week, we're remembering him for a lesser-known role: champion of recovery who used his platform to share his story and inspire hope in others.

The Profound Significance of Biden’s Marijuana Pardons | Treatment Magazine

"Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule 1 drug, the same as heroin and higher than fentanyl. 'It makes no sense,' said Biden. A reclassification could essentially force the hands of states to reduce penalties on marijuana charges. And because drug recidivism rates are higher for incarcerated people and the nature of many current state laws is so punitive, future marijuana policy drawdowns could help not only keep more people out of prisons and jails, but also out of the cycle of addiction."

'Harry Potter' Star Tom Felton Details Past Struggle With Alcoholism in New Memoir | CNN Entertainment

"The actor, who is most known for his portrayal of antagonist Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter film franchise, discusses in his new memoir Beyond the Wand: The Magic and Mayhem of Growing Up a Wizard some of his darker moments following his success as a child actor. ... 'I am not alone in having these feelings,' Felton wrote. 'Just as we all experience physical ill-health at some stage in our lives, so we all experience mental ill-health too. There’s no shame in that. It's not a sign of weakness.'"

Gen Z Is Stressed and in Crisis (But Not Giving In) | Looking Forward With Gen Z Research Report

"This survey found that relative to their elders over age 25, Gen Z is about twice as likely (42% to 23%) to battle depression and feelings of hopelessness. They are also three times as likely (18% to 5%) to say their challenges are so severe that they have had thoughts of self-harm or that they might be better off dead. … Nearly a quarter (24%) have someone close to them dealing with opioid or other drug addiction."

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