from universities, journals, and other organizations
Binge drinking disrupts immune system in young adults, study finds
December 29, 2014
Loyola University Health System
Binge drinking in young, healthy adults significantly disrupts the immune system, according to a study. Drinkers generally understand how binge drinking alters behavior, researchers note, however, there is less awareness of alcohol's harmful effects in other areas, such as the immune system.
Binge drinking in young, healthy adults significantly disrupts the immune system, according to a study led by a researcher now at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.
Depending on their weight, study participants drank four or five shots of vodka. Twenty minutes after reaching peak intoxication, their immune systems revved up. But when measured again, at two hours and five hours after peak intoxication, their immune systems had become less active than when sober.
The study by Majid Afshar, MD, MSCR, and colleagues is published online ahead of print in Alcohol, an international, peer-reviewed journal.
Binge drinking increases the risk of falls, burns, gunshot wounds, car accidents and other traumatic injuries. One-third of trauma patients have alcohol in their systems.
In addition to increasing the risk of traumatic injuries, binge drinking impairs the body's ability to recover from such injuries. Previous studies have found, for example, that binge drinking delays wound healing, increases blood loss and makes patients more prone to pneumonia and infections from catheters. Binge drinkers also are more likely to die from traumatic injuries. The study led by Dr. Afshar illustrates another potentially harmful effect of binge drinking
Drinkers generally understand how binge drinking alters behavior. "But there is less awareness of alcohol's harmful effects in other areas, such as the immune system," said Elizabeth Kovacs, PhD, a co-author of the study and director of Loyola's Alcohol Research Program.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as drinking enough to reach or exceed a blood alcohol content of .08, the legal limit for driving. This typically occurs after four drinks for women or five drinks for men, consumed in two hours. One in six U.S. adults binge drinks about four times a month, and binge drinking is more common in young adults aged 18 to 34, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr. Afshar led the study while at the University of Maryland, where he completed a fellowship before joining Loyola. The study included eight women and seven men with a median age of 27. Each volunteer drank enough shots of vodka -- generally four or five -- to meet the definition of binge drinking. (A 1.5 oz. shot of vodka is the alcohol equivalent of a five-ounce glass of wine or 12-ounce can of beer.) Dr. Afshar and colleagues took blood samples at 20 minutes, two hours and five hours after peak intoxication because these are times when intoxicated patients typically arrive at trauma centers for treatment of alcohol-related injuries.
The blood samples showed that 20 minutes after peak intoxication, there was increased immune system activity. There were higher levels of three types of white blood cells that are key components of the immune system: leukocytes, monocytes and natural killer cells. There also were increased levels of proteins called cytokines that signal the immune system to ramp up.
Two hours and five hours after peak intoxication, researchers found the opposite effect: fewer circulating monocytes and natural killer cells and higher levels of different types of cytokines that signal the immune system to become less active.
Dr. Afshar is planning a follow-up study of burn unit patients. He will compare patients who had alcohol in their system when they arrived with patients who were alcohol-free. He will measure immune system markers from each group, and compare their outcomes, including lung injury, organ failure and death.
Dr. Afshar is a pulmonologist, critical care physician and epidemiologist. He is an assistant professor in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and in the Department of Public Health Sciences of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.
Loyola's nationally recognized Alcohol Research Program investigates such issues as how heavy drinking hinders the body's ability to recover from burns and trauma; how alcohol abuse damages bones; and whether teen binge drinking can increase the risk of mood disorders later in life.
- Majid Afshar, Stephanie Richards, Dean Mann, Alan Cross, Gordon B. Smith, Giora Netzer, Elizabeth Kovacs, Jeffrey Hasday. Acute Immunomodulatory Effects of Binge Alcohol Ingestion. Alcohol, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.alcohol.2014.10.002
Cite This Page:
More From ScienceDaily
More Mind & Brain News
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
from universities, journals, and other organizations
Dec. 30, 2014 — A suicide attempt by a parent increased the odds nearly five-fold that a child would attempt suicide, according to a report. Other studies have established that suicidal behavior can run in families ... full story
- Parent History of Suicide Attempt Ups Kids' Risk
- Autistic Children With Pets Are More Assertive
- Molecular Network in Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Three Years Later: Remission in Patients With MS
- Binge Drinking Disrupts Immune System
- Neuronal Transmission in Live Mammalian Brain
- 12 New Genetic Causes of Developmental Disorders
- Police Body-Cameras Limit Use-Of-Force
- Predicting Patient Response to Surgery for OCD
- Activating Hair Growth by Modifying Immune Cells
newer top stories | older top stories
Strange & Offbeat Stories
- Looking Forward to the 24th Century: Cardiac Arrest Remains a Deadly Problem -- But for Different Reasons from Today
- Putting Bedbugs to Bed Forever
- Startling Benefit of Cardiology Meetings: Outcomes Better When Cardiologists Away?
- Hunter-Gatherer Past Shows Our Fragile Bones Result from Inactivity Since Invention of Farming
- Lost Memories Might Be Able to Be Restored, Suggests Research Into Marine Snail
- That Smartphone Is Giving Your Thumbs Superpowers
- In One Aspect of Vision, Computers Catch Up to Primate Brain
- No 'Bird Brains'? Crows Exhibit Advanced Relational Thinking, Study Suggests
- Bugs Life: The Nerve Cells That Make Locusts ‘gang Up’
- Thumbs-Up for Mind-Controlled Robotic Arm
- When You Lose Weight, Where Does the Fat Go? Most of the Mass Is Breathed out as Carbon Dioxide, Study Shows
- Kids' Cartoon Characters Twice as Likely to Die as Counterparts in Films for Adults: Content on a Par With 'Rampant Horrors' of Popular Films
- Sharing That Crowded Holiday Flight With Countless Hitchhiking Dust Mites
- Is This the End of 'Fake Exemptions? ' It Is Possible to Detect When We Provide False Information Regarding Our Health Conditions Through Handwriting
- Dogs Hear Our Words and How We Say Them
... from NewsDaily.com
- Monarch butterfly eyed for possible U.S. endangered species protection
- Europe recommends approval for first stem-cell therapy
- Disgraced Japan researcher fails to replicate 'game changing' stem cell results
- Songbirds fly coop long before tornadoes arrive in Tennessee
- SpaceX delays planned cargo run to space station to early January
- Ebola spreads in Sierra Leone as global cases top 20,000: WHO
- Lack of sleep, parents’ anxiety may affect kids’ pain after surgery
- Elderly overprescribed sedatives and anti-anxiety drugs
- MD degree may not teach doctors how to tweet
- Liberia suspends Ebola curfew to allow New Year's Eve worship
- Two dead, many drivers trapped as western U.S. storms chill New Year's Eve
- Effort to kill California's ban on plastic grocery bags moves forward
- Chinese man jailed for 13 years for eating tigers
- Mudslides, flash floods kill at least 53 in Philippines
- China hands out record fine to six polluters: Xinhua
- China's Huawei 2014 smartphone sales rise by a third
- Analytics-based U.S. tech firm Inovalon files for IPO
- India's capital sets new rules for Uber, other taxi operators
- Taiwan clears Xiaomi, other smartphone brands of breaching data privacy
- Low-risk 'worm' removed at hacked South Korea nuclear operator