The Nation

A new blood test can identify alcoholics, even when they have not had a drink for several years, researchers report. Experts say the test could become an important means of spotting alcoholism early so it can be treated before permanent damage occurs. But they said further study is necessary to determine whether the differences they found occur only after years of alcohol abuse. The researchers said their test, which measures two blood chemicals, was about 75% accurate in distinguishing alcoholics from people who do not have drinking problems. The work by researchers at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Westside Veterans Administration Medical Center in Chicago was published in today's New England Journal of Medicine.

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