Scientists: Alcohol protects against injuries

They say that God protects the crazy and the drunk.

And there is something true – you have seen countless times drunk fallen on the street, who have neither been hit nor broken a limb. They just get up, go numb, and go on their way without feeling pain.

There is already a scientific explanation for this phenomenon. It turns out that trauma patients are several times less likely to have damage to the heart and kidneys if they have previously been drinking, especially if the level of alcohol in their blood is drastically increased.

Scientists from the University of Illinois came to this unexpected conclusion.

“It turns out that alcohol intoxication protects patients from trauma, it seems to have some kind of protective effect,” said Lee Friedman, an author of the study. “But we cannot fully understand the reasons behind this phenomenon,” he adds.

To carefully unravel how drunks are less likely to be victims of trauma, Friedman studied the most common complications from which people with trauma usually die in the hospital. It also tracked the alcohol level in the blood of all injured patients.

According to data from an earlier study, about 64 percent of all post-traumatic deaths were due to some medical complication.

Friedman’s study included the results of 85,000 trauma patients who were also analyzed for blood alcohol levels.

The scientists collected the data from the trauma department in the hospitals of the state of Illinois over a period of 10 years.

Children up to 16 years of age, as well as people with superficial wounds and burns, were not included in the study. On average, the blood alcohol level of the studied patients ranged from 0 to 0.5 percent.

According to American standards, 0.5% is an amount that threatens human life, it exceeds about six times the permitted rate in the United States of America.

3.2% of the patients included in the study died. Mortality was significantly increased among those diagnosed with post-traumatic complications – at least one in 43.2% of those who died.

At the same time, the presence of alcohol in the blood was found to be associated with a lower risk of developing complications. In these patients, cardiovascular complications were detected 23.5 percent less, and kidney complications less than 30 percent.

“Although alcohol is absorbed quickly enough into the blood, the protective effect of it is stored significantly longer,” says Friedman.

He also notes that it is not entirely clear whether the protective effect of alcohol occurs immediately after the injury, when alcohol is still present in the blood, or whether the protection is due to the products of its metabolism, as well as the body’s reactions to alcohol itself and the specific trauma.

“In any case, our data show a reduced risk of heart and kidney complications, but much more research is needed to understand exactly what this protective mechanism is due to,” says Friedman.

And he warns that what he said does not mean that it is good to drink alcohol above the accepted norms, because the harmful effects of alcoholic beverages have long been known.

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