"Asian glow" could be linked to Alzheimer's, study finds

If you've spent any time partying with Asian kids, you've witnessed it.

Some more bad news for us folks who deal with the "Asian glow," according to a new study... In the presence of alcohol, a defective version of the aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 gene -- which causes that pesky redness when we drink -- also leads to biochemical changes associated with Alzheimer's disease.

A common mutation in aldehyde dehydrogenase 2, or ALDH2, a key enzyme involved in alcohol metabolism, increases damage in cells from patients with Alzheimer's disease and in mice, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

This mutation, which is prevalent in the East Asian population, is associated with facial redness following alcohol consumption. It causes the activity of the enzyme to be greatly reduced, resulting in the buildup of acetaldehyde, a toxic product of alcohol metabolism. If you've spent any time partying with Asian kids, you've witnessed it.

Turns out that the Asian glow is not just an unsightly or embarrassing feature of Asian party photos.

"Our data suggest that alcohol and Alzheimer's disease-prone genes may put humans at greater risk of Alzheimer's onset and progression," said Daria Mochly-Rosen, PhD, professor of chemical and systems biology. "This is based on our patient-derived cell studies and our animal studies, so an epidemiological study in humans should be carried out in the future."

Get on this, science.

More here: Alcohol, 'Asian glow' mutation may contribute to Alzheimer's disease, study finds