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mooeypoo

"Mixing Alcohol" - Myth or fact?

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Smaller brain damage or later damage can be fixed - stem cells slowly restore brain (but its a pretty slow process and has hardly any effect in case of serious damage).

 

No, not always. Be careful with the absolute statements, and go lookup Korsakoff's syndrome. :)

 

Further, alcohol is neurotoxic by itself. It causes the release of cortisol (a stress hormone) which causes irreversible damage to the hippocampus, an area mostly known for its role in memory.

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mostly alcohol kills your liver.
Only in excess amounts, the main problem with small amounts of alcohol is the increased rates of cancer when it is over a long period, however this can't be proved infallibly for obvious reasons.

Most common symptoms are:

Lack of common sense (eg easily agitated, rarely think before they do anything), above average violence, low creationism etc

It vastly depends on the person to what the psychological effects of alcohol are, the effect of alcohol is very different from person to person as well as what mood they are in at the time.

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I mix beer and hard alcohol all the time. Typically when it does make me puke it's shortly after taking a shot. Liquor after beer... not necessarily in the clear there.

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Do you have a reference for the hippocampal damage? I'd like to see how the work was done.

 

There's been a lot of work in this arena. Here's one from the wiki article I read on Korsakoff's syndrome:

 

http://www.tianeptine.com/cortisol-stress.html

 

 

That wiki article I referenced says this:

Also, alcohol is, by itself, neurotoxic. It will cause neural damage taken in excess, especially in the hippocampus. The body responds to alcohol ingestion by releasing cortisol as a neuroprotective mechanism (animals that have been adrenalectomized may be killed by a fraction of the dose of alcohol that an unadrenalectomized animal may tolerate). Cortisol, specifically, has been shown to cause irreversible damage to the hippocampus when present in large amounts for extended periods of time.[7] Alcohol in excess may be causal in and of itself in Korsakoff dementia regardless of thiamine addition to spirits.

The reference listed in the quote as [7] is what I provided a link for above.

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I think the reason the old adage stands is purely behavioral.

 

As someone hinted at earlier, I suspect that the more intoxicated someone is, the less aware they are of their own intoxication. In addition to this as one becomes more intoxicated, their sensitivity to alcohol, and the speed at which they drink probably increases as well.

 

Thus, is you are already drunk (from drinking beer) you are more likely to drink a larger volume of "hard liquor", because:

 

1. you are less aversive to the taste of it.

2. You are less able to gauge your own level of intoxication and/or "stopping point"

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I wonder if the "Myth" is considered by some to be a myth merely because it only happens under proper conditions.

 

For instance:

 

Scencario one -- An aging rocker has been on tour for a week but has decided to not drink like when he was young because, quite frankly, the hangover started to interfere with his performance. On last night's gig he met up with a very attractive younger groupie who kept him up all night doing things groupies do to rockers. He oversleeps in the hotel room, wakes up a couple hours before his gig orders a steak, eats it quickly and heads straight to the gig and performs. After the gig he and the band have some drinks, he remembers the saying about beer and liquor and has a few scotches then a couple of beers before calling it a night. He get's tipsy -- maybe a little drunk but makes up feeling ok. And thinks. Yay to the old myth.

 

Scenario two -- same rocker, next night. It felt good to drink the night before so he decides to do it again, but this time he didn't spend the night with a wild groupie, wakes up in plenty of time and has a hamburger and fries before the gig along with a beer. After the gig he has a few more beers and starts to feel really good, the rest of the band orders shots all around and our rocker switches to hard alcohol and gets wasted and wakes up in a pool of his own vomit wearing the panties belonging to the half naked girl he assumes he was with again last night. He feels terrible and thinks, "Oh how I wish I followed the 'beer before liquor never sicker' rule."

 

Scenario three -- A wild groupie who didn't get enough attention from her father goes out to see a favorite local band which has such an interesting and sexy older member. She's very concerned about her weight and decides the best way to look uber sexy in her outfit tonight is to just not eat, besides, she's gonna be drinking later and doesn't want to feel all full. She goes to see the band, has some beers, followed by a couple of shots causing her already not so inhibited self to become bravely uninhibited and decides to rock the aging rocker's world all night long. She wakes up the next day feeling fine, a little dehydrated but mostly ok. On her walk of shame through the hotel lobby in the clothes she was wearing the night before she thinks to herself "Bah, beer before liquor never sicker" is a load of horse poo I did fine.

 

Scenario 4 -- A couple of days later the groupie girl decides to go meet up with the band again hoping to see the aging rocker. Instead of seeing the performance she goes out with friends has a meal of pizza and then head off to meet the band for drinks where she has several shots, a few mixed drinks and finally beer before waking up half naked in a pool of someone else's vomit feeling like a truck ran over her and wondering where her panties are. If she were able to think about other things at this moment she'd be thinking "Liquor before beer... never again".

 

So... what happened there in my story? It's fictional, of course, but only in some details, I have experienced this more or less exactly. When I asked a phsyician about it and the whole liquor before beer thing he explained it to me that it's really a matter of carbohydrates and the liver.

 

Here's why: The brain needs sugars to work. Normally, it get's these from sugar and carbohydrates. Now, when we are drinking, alcohol is absorbed in our stomach and intestines, get's into our bloodstream and goes to our brain and inner ear making us drunk, dizzy etc. Dizziness and toxic effects of alcohol make our body want to get rid of any more alcohol waiting to go to our heads and we get sick. That's IF there are sugars and carbs in our system to feed the brain. If there is a lack of sugars or carbs then guess what happens? The liver starts to convert alcohol into sugars to feed the brain. That leaves less alcohol to make us drunk and dizzy and sick.

 

So how does this help play out the beer before liquor thing? Well, beer comes with it's own carbs. So brain gets carbs and alcohol. With many hard liquors not so many carbs in there so if we haven't eaten or ate proteins mostly, some of the alcohol in the hard liquor gets turned to sugars. Then capping it off with beer feeds the brain carbs, we get a little alcohol and get tipsy. So we realize we've been drinking all night and stop.

 

Beer first and we get all the alcohol from the beer unless we just didn't eat that day and then if we cap it off with hard liquor the extra alcohol burst just makes things worse and at an accelerated pace and we get sick.

 

This is also why "Sweet" drinks or "Girl" drinks tend to have the reputation of getting people sick. Sugars in the drink allow the brain to get all the alcohol by not having the liver break it up into sugars.

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Thanks for the info iNow. I looked at the abstract to see how they determined hippocampal damage. What the article does is claim hippocampal damage as a result of changes in chemistry and not as physical damage.

 

It is well known that alcohol has a profound and long term effect on neurons. What is often mistakenly claimed is that the the neurons die. That is not true. The neurons are there, but there behavior has changed.

 

I was interested in seeing how the work was done because earlier studies showing loss of neurons in alcoholics was based on physical estimation techniques that give the wrong answer.

 

Thanks.

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It is well known that alcohol has a profound and long term effect on neurons. What is often mistakenly claimed is that the the neurons die. That is not true. The neurons are there, but there behavior has changed.

 

I'm not all that confident that this assertion is correct. I have always been of the impression that neurons (and neural connections) are plastic, being continually pruned and new growth continually fostered in other areas, and that this process is heavily influenced by environmental conditions (and insults).

 

More basic information on this concept of neural plasticity can be found at wiki.

 

 

So, unless we are just using poor language to communicate similar ideas with each other, and having a simple communicative breakdown, I will stand by my assertion that nerve cells DO very much die, and unless they are replaced by the growth of new cells, that death (and loss of synaptic connections) will leave a neurophysiological and functional/performance deficit.

 

In sum, I plan to continue holding my view that nerve cells can, in fact, die and emaciate until some evidence profoundly demonstrative of the contrary is presented me.

 

 

Cheers. <hiccup> :)

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