New Study – From CNN News Service – April 14, 2004
WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Heavy social drinkers show the same pattern of brain damage as hospitalized alcoholics — enough to impair day-to-day functioning, U.S. researchers said Wednesday.
Brain scans show clear damage, and tests of reading, balance and other function show people who drink more than 100 drinks a month have some problems, the researchers said.
“Socially functioning heavy drinkers often do not recognize that their level of drinking constitutes a problem that warrants treatment,” the researchers, at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee and the University of California San Francisco, wrote in their report.
“The enrollment criterion for heavy drinkers was the consumption of more than an average of 100 alcoholic drinks per month for men over 3 years before the study (80 drinks for women),” they wrote in the report, published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
One drink is usually defined as a serving of spirits, a glass of wine or a can or bottle of beer.
Dieter Meyerhoff of UCSF and Dr. Peter Martin of Vanderbilt examined 46 chronic, heavy drinkers and 52 light drinkers recruited using newspaper ads and flyers.
They used magnetic resonance imaging to look at physical brain structures and also measured various brain chemicals associated with healthy brain function.
Standard tests of verbal intelligence, processing speed, balance, working memory, spatial function, executive function, and learning and memory were given to the volunteers.
“Our heavy drinkers sample was significantly impaired on measures of working memory, processing speed, attention, executive function, and balance,” the researchers wrote.
Heavy drinking damages your brain ever so slightly, reducing your cognitive functioning in ways that may not be readily noticeable. To be safe, don’t overdo it. — Message from drinking study
Measures of brain chemicals and structures showed some of the same damage seen in alcoholics who are in the hospital or treatment centers, they said.
The study is unusual in that most studies of brain damage from alcohol are done in people who have undergone treatment.
“What our findings indicate is that brain damage is detectable in heavy drinkers who are not in treatment and function relatively well in the community,” Meyerhoff said in a statement.
Martin and Meyerhoff said the study showed evidence of brain impairment, even if the drinkers cannot see it themselves.
“Our message is: Drink in moderation. Heavy drinking damages your brain ever so slightly, reducing your cognitive functioning in ways that may not be readily noticeable. To be safe, don’t overdo it.”
Meyerhoff said that for most adults, moderate alcohol use translates to up to two drinks per day for younger men, and one drink per day for women and older people.
(Note: FACT: Alcohol is a drug – a depressant – drinking too much, especially to the point of drunkenness or passing out is considered “over-dosing” on a depressant. Look at the word “intoxication” – in the middle of that word is the word “toxic“, and too much alcohol creates “blood-alcohol poisoning. Yes, people have died drinking too much, or as this study shows can and have suffered brain damage. – Monica Zech)
Truth is stranger than fiction, just when I think I seen or heard it all comes the following news story. It drives home the words “brain damaging effects of alcohol: Warning – the story is shocking:
Family Of Decapitated Man Seeks Mercy For Driver
POSTED: 12:24 pm EDT September 1, 2004
MARIETTA, Ga. — The family of a man decapitated in an alleged drunken driving accident is pleading with authorities to free his best friend, who was behind the wheel and apparently didn’t notice that his passenger had been beheaded.
Francis “Frankie” Brohm, 23, was killed Saturday night on the way home from a bar with his high school friend John Hutcherson.
Hutcherson is jailed on $100,000 bond charged with first-degree vehicular homicide, driving under the influence and failing to stop at the scene of a fatal accident.
On Tuesday, Brohm’s family appealed to Cobb County District Attorney Pat Head, saying they support Hutcherson’s release on bond.
“They don’t want to see him in jail,” said Brohm family attorney David Lipscomb. “Their position is he needs to be out to receive whatever treatment is necessary, put his life back together.”
Police say Brohm was drunk and hanging out the passenger side window that night when Hutcherson veered off the road. Brohm hit a roadside telephone wire, severing his head, but Hutcherson kept driving home and went to bed, leaving Brohm’s headless body in the truck.
Brohm’s body was discovered by neighbors the next day, and Brohm’s head was still on the side of the road. Hutcherson was apparently unaware of what had happened to his friend.
The families of both men are very close, lawyers said.
“It’s just a horrific accident, and we are all just in mourning right now,” said Margaret Hutcherson, John’s mother, in an interview with the Marietta Daily Journal. “(Brohm has) been a part of our family just like Johnny was a part of their family. I feel like I’ve lost a son.”
The Brohm family left Tuesday for Francis Brohm’s Friday funeral, which will be held in Louisville, Ky.
2004 by The Associated Press
When this story was first reported: More shocking details….
Police: Man Drives Home After Passenger Decapitated
POSTED: 11:44 am EDT August 30, 2004
MARIETTA, Ga. — A drunken driver hit a telephone pole support wire that decapitated his passenger, then drove 12 miles home and slept in his bloody clothes, leaving the headless body in his truck, police said.
A neighbor walking with his young daughter Sunday morning discovered Daniel Brohm’s headless corpse in the truck in John Kemper Hutcherson’s driveway and called authorities, said Cpl. Dana Pierce, county police spokesman.
Officers found Hutcherson asleep inside his home. He was visibly drunk and his clothes were bloody, authorities said. They later found Brohm’s severed head at the crash site.
“It’s hard for one to imagine that you would drive miles from a crash site to your home, turning in various directions, and yet not know what has happened to a passenger sitting next to you,” Pierce said.
Hutcherson, 21, was charged with vehicular homicide, driving under the influence and failure to stop at an accident with death or injury. He was jailed on a $100,000 bond; it was unclear Monday whether he had an attorney.
Police said Hutcherson and Brohm — friends since high school — were drinking at a bar Saturday night and left after Brohm said he felt sick.
Brohm, 23, apparently was leaning out of the window when Hutcherson hit the support wire about a mile and a half from the bar.
2004 by The Associated Press
*Proving yet again why “alcohol” is the number one problem in society!