New Drug Combats Binge Drinking Brain Effects

When a woman has four or more drinks in one sitting or when a man consumes five or more drinks at once, this is known as binge drinking. It is the most common form of alcohol abuse in America. 90% of the alcohol people under 21 consume is through binge drinking. 1 out of every 6 adults binge drink once a week, and, have a total average of eight drinks per session. Nearly everyone who has gotten drunk knows the awful effects alcohol can have, most often in the form of a hangover. However, more severe side effects have long been studied by scientists. Neurologists in New York City have witnessed many damaging side effects in their binge-drinking patients.

Researchers have stated that binge drinking can lead to long-term brain damage due to inflammation and neuron loss. They speculate that this might be more common in adolescence, when the brain has not fully developed. Pain management doctors in Long Island have had m
uch experience with these kinds of cases. With a new study published in the Journal of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, scientists examine how a compound known as ethane-beta-sultam decreased these effects in rats. Of all adults that drink copiously in America, 92% of them reported binge drinking in the past month. This practice remains more common in the younger generations, however people 65 and older binge drink more often, roughly 5-6 times a month.


It is difficult for medication to get to the brain because of the blood-brain barrier, which is why treatment for neurological diseases remains tough. However, this new compound has the ability to break through the blood-brain barrier. When a binge-drinking episode occurs, the brain produces more glial cells, which function to protect it from the alcohol. Yet, when rats in the study received the ethane-beta-sultam, the compound actually decreased their amount of glial cells upon consuming alcohol. In this way, it was able to penetrate the brain and decrease the amount of neurons lost and inflammation. This kind of treatment would be very helpful to any neurologist in NYC.

In addition to these promising results, the rats also demonstrated a better working memory than those who had not received the compound. Binge drinking is currently on the rise, with 14% of Americans reporting having engaged in it in 1993, and 17% in 2010. Although this presents a new form of treatment for binge drinking, the study may face opposition for allowing this practice to continue. This drug may prove beneficial in other areas of neurological research, such as with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, mainly because it can penetrate the blood-brain barrier.

Gary Starkman Dr. Starkman, a top Neurologist in NYC, is the Medical Director and founder of New York Neurology Associates. He is Board Certified in Neurology with a subspecialty certification in Pain Medicine.

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