Tags: binge | drinking | alcohol | immune | system

Binge Drinking Disrupts Immune System in Young Adults

Monday, 29 Dec 2014 11:53 AM


 
Binge drinking in young, healthy adults causes significant changes in their immune systems, according to a study in the journal Alcohol.
 
When lead researcher Majid Afshar, M.D. was at the University of Maryland, he conducted the study with young men and women whose  median age was 27. They consumed either four or five shots of vodka, depending on weight, during a two-hour period. The amount of alcohol was enough to reach the  definition of binge drinking set by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, which is reaching or exceeding a blood level alcohol of .08, the legal limit for driving.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 6 adults binge drink about four times every month, and it's more common in those aged 18 to 34. Binge drinking increases the risk of traumatic injuries, including car accidents and gunshot wounds.

Previous studies showed that binge drinking impeded the body's ability to recover from injuries, finding that wounds healed more slowly and patients were more likely to develop pneumonia and infections from catheters. Dr. Afshar wanted to discover the effects binge drinking had on the immune system.

He found that within 20 minutes of reaching top intoxication, their immune systems had shifted into high gear. The body had started producing more of three types of white blood cells that are key to the immune system — leukocytes, monocytes, and natural killer cells — as well as proteins called cytokines that signal the immune system to become more active.

But when measured at two hours and again at five hours past peak intoxication, their immune systems had slowed, producing fewer of the leukocytes, monocytes, and natural killer cells, and fewer cytokines than when they were sober.  
 
Dr. Afshar is planning a follow-up study of burn patients that will compare the outcomes of those who had alcohol in their systems when admitted to those who were alcohol-free.
 

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Binge drinking in young, healthy adults causes significant changes in their immune systems, according to a study in the journal Alcohol. When lead researcher Majid Afshar, M.D. was at the University of Maryland, he conducted the study with young men and women whose median...
binge, drinking, alcohol, immune, system
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2014-53-29
Monday, 29 Dec 2014 11:53 AM
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