Alcohol Having a little alcohol in your blood could be a life-saver

Patients with alcohol in their blood are less likely to die from head injuries, according to a new study in Archives of Surgery, a JAMA/Archives journal.

The researchers found that the patients who tested positive for alcohol were less likely to die than patients who had no alcohol in their bloodstream. They were also generally younger and had less severe injuries. But patients who had drunk alcohol did suffer more medical complications during their stay in the hospital.

In the study, Ali Salim and his colleagues from the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles looked at 38,019 patients with moderate to severe head injuries. The authors note that it is not clear how ethanol might reduce the risk of death from head injuries, with animal studies showing contradictory results. While several animal studies do show some beneficial effects of having a low level of alcohol in the blood, including a higher chance of survival, these benefits are lost at higher alcohol levels. And other studies actually show alcohol being associated with reduced survival.

Of course, alcohol increases the risk of getting injured in the first place, and the authors of the study point out that they looked at the mortality of patients already in hospital. But head injuries are becoming more common, especially among soldiers. The study raises the possibility of a new treatment for head injuries: in the future, perhaps doctors could save your life by administering a healthy dose of alcohol.


It is difficult to ascertain whether alcohol in the long run is actually beneficial or hazardous during the recovery of the patient. I'd like to know exactly how alcohol may actually save your life if you suffer a head injury.

But when you think about it, it is true that most head injuries in public are the result of drunken behaviour and therefore if anything the alcohol would have to be filtered out of your system prior to treatment, especially if surgery is required.

Yeah, I'm also curious as to how alcohol helps head injury patients recover. I mean, I always thought any alcohol would adversely affect the body during any injury recovery, judging by all the doctors telling me to stay sober post-surgery. And also, wouldn't alcohol interfere with the drugs required to keep the patient stable?

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