A new study finds that when young people binge drink alcohol, it disrupts their immune system, and that disruption happens more quickly than drinkers might think.
Published in December in the journal, Alcohol, the study found that within just two hours of young, healthy adults drinking up to five shots of vodka, their immune systems were less active than when sober. The findings are particularly relevant as binge drinking increases the risk of a number of injuries that might land young people in the emergency room, where physicians could benefit from knowing that a patient’s immune system may be impaired due to too much alcohol. Majid Afshar, MD, MSCR, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor within the Loyola University Chicago Departments of Medicine and Public Health Sciences, said the findings illustrate the importance of asking about a patient’s alcohol consumption. He added that some patients are likely arriving at trauma centers with alcohol-related injuries at a time when their healing capacity is weakened.
“This supports the idea that physicians should be aware of these patients and be more aggressive in how they treat them,” Afshar said.
To conduct the study, researchers recruited eight women and seven men, with an average age of 27, who each drank enough vodka shots to meet the definition of binge drinking, which was defined as reaching or exceeding the legal blood alcohol limit for driving. Study participants’ blood was collected and tested before drinking as well as 20 minutes, two hours and five hours after peak intoxication. The study found that 20 minutes after peak intoxication, participants’ immune systems exhibited increased activity; however, at the two- and five-hour marks, their immune systems exhibited decreased activity. The study found that such effects happen after just one episode of binge drinking.
“The clinical impacts of these changes are not yet known but occurred during the post-alcohol ingestion time frame when trauma victims are exposed to (internal) activators of inflammation and microbial pathogens,” the study concluded.
Afshar said that while he and his colleagues expected some type of immune system disruption, they were surprised that it occurred so quickly. From a public health perspective, he said the study’s findings are another reason to support alcohol-related education and prevention efforts.
“The idea that one single episode of binge drinking can cause such a significant disruption — it’s something we can take to the public and show them that there are harms even for those who don’t consider themselves problem drinkers,” Afshar told The Nation’s Health. “We need to do a better job on educating the public about the harmful effects of heavy drinking in people who otherwise consider themselves healthy.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in six U.S. adults binge drinks about four times a month and consumes about eight drinks per episode. Binge drinking is more common among adults ages 18 to 34, with more than half of the alcohol consumed in the U.S. drunk in the form of binge drinking.
Study: One episode of binge drinking enough to weaken immune system. The Nation’s Health. http://thenationshealth.aphapublications.org/content/45/1/E3.full
The amazing thing about living organisms is their distinctive specified complexity, which is a type of orderliness carrying specific instructions and messages and functions within the organism. For example, the human cell is of such immense complexity it is mind bogglingly overwhelming. Inside this tiny structure is the DNA molecule, which is the building block of all organisms. It is like a biological library with hundreds of volumes of information store in its molecular system. A deeper examination of the DNA molecule reveals storage of information in four-letter format, the language of DNA: A, T, C, G-which stand for Adenine, Thymine, Cytosine, and Guanine. The human genome has 3 billion of these letters or bases.
The four letters, A, T, C, G are also known as nucleotides. These letters are arranged into 64 3-letter words known as codons used to specify the 20 different types of amino acids used by living organisms. The 3-letter words are arranged in such a manner that they form sentence structures, known as genes.1 These genes are organized in sequential order to form equivalents of paragraphs of information known as operons. The operons or paragraphs are also arranged in chapter structures of information known as chromosomes. Finally, these chapters of information put together form a manuscript or an entire book which is the living organism itself. Such an exhibition of intellectuality can never be by chance.
Amazingly, the information found in a cell carries the same pattern of letters similar to that human beings utilize to deliver information to each other. To believe that this is a mere product of matter, time and chance is inconceivable, to say the least.
Talking about chance, read the part of satirical poem from the pen of Steve Turner below: 2
If chance be the Father of all flesh,
Disaster is his rainbow in the sky,
And when you hear
State of Emergency!
Sniper Kills Ten!
Troops on Rampage!
Bomb Blasts School!
It is but the sound of man worshiping his maker.
1 Norman Geisler & Peter Bocchino (2001). Unshakable Foundations: Contemporary Answers to Crucial Questions about the Christian Faith. Bethany House Publishers. Bloomington, Minnesota. pp. 127
2 Steve Turner, (English journalist), “Creed,” his satirical poem on the modern mind. Taken from Ravi Zacharias’ book Can Man live Without God? Pages 42-44