The effects of age and alcohol intoxication on simulated driving performance, awareness and self-restraint.
AIMS: To investigate whether, compared with middle-aged men (aged 30-50), older men (age > or =60) (i) perform more poorly on a driving simulator and (ii) are more sensitive to the effects of ethanol in terms of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and driving performance, but more aware of their driving difficulties, and therefore exercise better driving judgement. METHODS: 14 Healthy middle-aged men (mean age 36 years) were compared with 14 healthy older men (mean age 69 years) on an interactive driving simulator, while sober and while legally intoxicated (BAC >80 mg/dl). RESULTS: Older age was associated with poorer driving performance on the simulator. While sober, older men exhibited more improper braking, slower driving, greater speed variability, fewer appropriate full stops and more crashes, and spent more time executing left turns (across oncoming traffic); all values < or =0.02. BACs > or =80 mg/dl were associated with impaired driving, with more inappropriate braking, fewer appropriate full stops and more time executing left turns (all values > or =0.02) and trends towards more speed variability, more low speed collisions and more wrong turns (values <0.1). However, similar ethanol consumption did not produce higher peak BAC or more driving impairments in older drivers. While there were no differences between age groups in terms of awareness of intoxication or driving difficulties, older men were unwilling to drive while legally intoxicated because of fear of physical injury, whereas middle-aged men were more likely to avoid driving when intoxicated due to fear of legal ramifications. CONCLUSION: While both age and legal intoxication affected driving performance, older men were no more sensitive to ethanol in terms of peak BACs, driving performance or awareness/judgement than middle-aged men. (+info
Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor modulates the pulmonary host response to endotoxin in the absence and presence of acute ethanol intoxication.
Alcohol impairs neutrophil function and predisposes the host to infectious complications. Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) increases both the number and functional activities of neutrophils. This study investigated the effects of G-CSF on the pulmonary response to endotoxin in rats with or without acute ethanol intoxication. Acute ethanol intoxication inhibited tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha and macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-2 production in the lung and suppressed the recruitment of neutrophils into the lung. Ethanol also inhibited CD11b/c expression on recruited neutrophils and suppressed the phagocytic activity of circulating neutrophils. G-CSF pretreatment up-regulated CD11b/c expression on circulating polymorphonuclear leukocytes, augmented the recruitment of neutrophils into the lung, and enhanced the phagocytic activity of circulating and recruited neutrophils in both the absence and presence of acute ethanol intoxication. G-CSF inhibited MIP-2 but not TNF-alpha production in the lung. These data suggest that G-CSF may be useful in the prevention or treatment of infections in persons immunocompromised by alcohol. (+info
Wine and good subjective health.
The association of subjective, self-rated suboptimal (average or poor) health with the intake of beer, wine, and liquor and alcohol intoxication was examined in a general population sample in Finland in 1992. The odds ratios were adjusted for several possible confounders with the use of logistic regression analysis. Compared with subjects who drank no wine, suboptimal health was less frequent among both men and women who imbibed 1-4 drinks of wine, and more common among men who consumed > or = 10 drinks of wine or liquor. Moderate wine drinking seems to be related to good self-rated health. (+info
A case of acute renal failure and compartment syndrome after an alcoholic binge.
A 25 year old man presented with anuria and bilateral leg pain two days after an alcoholic binge. He subsequently developed rhabdomyolysis causing acute renal failure, with compartment syndrome of both lower legs. This required urgent dialysis and fasciotomy respectively within six hours of admission. He remained dialysis dependent for three weeks and only after four months was he able to weight bear on both legs. Alcohol is a leading cause of rhabdomyolysis. Early recognition and prompt treatment is essential to prevent serious complications. (+info
Alcohol sales to pseudo-intoxicated bar patrons.
OBJECTIVES: Many establishments serve alcoholic beverages to obviously intoxicated patrons despite laws against such sales. To guide the development of interventions to reduce these illegal alcohol sales, this study used actors feigning intoxication to determine whether servers recognized obvious signs of intoxication and to assess the tactics servers used when dealing with intoxicated patrons. METHODS: Male actors ages 30 to 50 acted out signs of obvious intoxication as they attempted to purchase alcoholic beverages. If served during the first attempt, these pseudo-intoxicated buyers made second purchase attempts during the same visit. Observers accompanied the actors; after each visit, actors and observers recorded the servers' behavior and comments. RESULTS: Alcoholic beverages were served to actors portraying intoxicated patrons at 68% of first purchase attempts and 53% of second purchase attempts (62% of a total of 106 purchase attempts). The most common refusal technique was a direct refusal (68% of refusals), made with either no excuse or with reference to the actors' apparent intoxication level. Servers' second most commonly used refusal technique was offering alcohol-free beverages, such as coffee or water (18% of refusals). CONCLUSIONS: Further research is needed to determine why servers who recognize intoxication serve alcoholic beverages and what training, outlet policies, and external pressures are needed to reduce illegal alcohol sales to obviously intoxicated patrons. (+info
Outpatient detoxification of the addicted or alcoholic patient.
Outpatient detoxification of patients with alcohol or other drug addiction is being increasingly undertaken. This type of management is appropriate for patients in stage I or stage II of withdrawal who have no significant comorbid conditions and have a support person willing to monitor their progress. Adequate dosages of appropriate substitute medications are important for successful detoxification. In addition, comorbid psychiatric, personality and medical disorders must be managed, and social and environmental concerns need to be addressed. By providing supportive, nonjudgmental, yet assertive care, the family physician can facilitate the best possible chance for a patient's successful recovery. (+info
Recent heavy drinking of alcohol and embolic stroke.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Epidemiological evidence suggests that heavy alcohol consumption increases the risk for ischemic stroke, whereas light-to-moderate alcohol intake decreases the risk, but the role of different drinking patterns has remained unclear. We investigated recent light, moderate, and heavy alcohol drinking and former heavy drinking as risk factors for acute ischemic brain infarction by etiological subtype of stroke. METHODS: We compared 212 consecutive patients aged between 16 and 60 years, who were completely evaluated for the etiology of their ischemic stroke, with 274 control subjects admitted to the emergency unit of the same hospital. ORs, as estimates of multivariate relative risks (RRs), and 95% CIs after adjustment for possible confounding variables were calculated by logistic regression. The ORs were adjusted for age, sex, body mass index, hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipemia, current smoking, and history of migraine. RESULTS: Recent heavy drinking but not former heavy drinking was an independent risk factor for stroke (RR 1.82, 95% CI 1.08 to 3.05). Consumption of 151 to 300 g and >300 g alcohol within the week preceding the onset of stroke significantly increased the risk for cardioembolic and cryptogenic stroke. Consumption of >40 g alcohol within the preceding 24 hours increased the risk for cardiogenic embolism to the brain among those who had a high-risk source (RR 4.75, 95% CI 1.23 to 18.4), the risk for tandem embolism among those who had prominent large-artery atherosclerosis (RR 7.68, 95% CI 1.82 to 32.3), and the risk for cryptogenic stroke (RR 3.84, 95% CI 1.69 to 8.71). Light drinking did not increase the risk for stroke. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that acute drinking of intoxicating amounts of alcohol may trigger the onset of embolic stroke among subjects who have a source of thrombus in the heart or the large arteries. (+info
Increase in type I and type III collagens in human alcoholic liver cirrhosis.
Collagen in bulk was isolated in about 30% yield from the livers of normal human beings and from livers of persons with alcholic cirrhosis. Analyzed chemically and examined by electron microscopy, the collagen in each case was shown to consist of two types identical with, or resembling closely, type I and type III collagens of skin. The collagen from normal liver was predominantly type I, whereas, that from cirrhotic livers consisted or approximately equal amounts of the two types. By chromatography on carboxymethyl-cellulose, the type I collagen from the cirrhotic livers showed one alpha2chain and two alpha1 chains. The alpha1 chains were separable from one another, but gel electrophoretic patterns of peptides obtained from them after treatment with CNBr were almost identical, and resembled the pattern obtained with CNBr peptides of the alpha1 chain of rat skin type I collagen. The increased collagen of both types was responsible in part for the observed distortion of the architecture of the cirrhotic livers associated with increased rigidity of the stroma. The predominance of type III collagen in the areas of collapse of architecture where, as shown by others, few fibroblasts are present, suggests that hepatocytes might have an important function in fibrogenesis during the course of liver cirrhosis. (+info