What are the effects of alcohol on the brain?

In summary: Methanol does not make the alcohol dangerous, it's the other ingredients that make the alcohol dangerous. At very low levels, methanol can be in any drink, but it is undetectable by the human eye.In summary, alcohol dehydrogenase produces ethanol and methanol, which have different effects on the brain. If you drink methanol, it can make you go blind. Alcohol by itself has no effect on the brain, but its products can be harmful.
  • #1
einsteinian77
208
0
If you'd be kind enough to answer my qeustion, thanks. I'd like know what are the effects of alcohol on the brain? Permanent and temporary
 
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  • #2
I just remember seeing some program on Discovery Channel once saying that the alcohol itself doesn't affect the brain, but causes a chemical to be released which does cause the drunk effect.
(I know Alcohol Dehydrogenase is the enzyme which breaks alcohol down...I don't know if this is the cause of drunkeness though...)

I don't know what causes the permanent effects at all well though.
 
  • #3
Any truth behind that myth that "one sip kills a thousand brain cells"?
 
  • #4
I don't know much about alcohol besides this: it is a toxin and that is why you get the funny feeling.

Alcohol forces water from your body and thus dehydrates you AND your brain. The hangover is caused by the lack of cusioning of the brain, don't seem healthy to me.
 
  • #5
If you can keep it (the alcohol consumption) moderate, wouldn't the effects be minimized?
 
  • #6
True, alcohol in small amounts can be benefitial since it relaxes the blood vessels and thus lowers the blood pressure. Binge drinking thought (spikes of alcohol) can be very dangerous and is associated with rupture of aneurysms, causing stroke.
 
  • #7
I heard once from an scientific article that alchohol doesn't kill any part of the cerabellum but causes new connections between nuerons by destroying old nueron connections in various parts of the brain. In my opinion, alcohol is much more dangerous to you on a temporary scale because of the level of stupidity while drunk is unmatched on the permanent scale.
 
  • #8
Alcohol by it self has no bio effect, but it's products created in reaction with active c. of alcohol dehydrogenase, (prod. for ethanol: citric acid and acetaldehid) are bio active ... And if you by any case drink methanol instead ethanol, products will be ant acid, and formaldehide (toxic and not biodegrade substances), but as the enzime is the same for all alcohols, you should cure your self with great quantities of ethanol (alcohol dehydrogenase structure is most adequate for ethanol ...)
 
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  • #9
Originally posted by einsteinian77
I heard once from an scientific article that alchohol doesn't kill any part of the cerabellum but causes new connections between nuerons by destroying old nueron connections in various parts of the brain. In my opinion, alcohol is much more dangerous to you on a temporary scale because of the level of stupidity while drunk is unmatched on the permanent scale.

New connections? I thought that the connections that you have as an adult are all you got, and new connections cannot be made?
 
  • #10
Well, you don't ever want to drink methanol. It'll make you go blind because of the products formed.
 
  • #11
I know this isn't the Brain Teasers area, but here's one for you.

To what concentration can you get ethanol by simple distallation?

Why?

Pete
 
  • #12
Originally posted by PeteGt
Well, you don't ever want to drink methanol. It'll make you go blind because of the products formed.

You always drink methanol when you drink alcohol but the concentration is small compare to ethanol.

Back to the subject, alcohol has an effect on the developing brain of fetus. I have seen studies where some women took small volume of alcohol during certain months of the pregancy and it effect the child. Alcohol has an effect on the aldult brain if it's taken in great volume regularly (look at alcoholism) but small quantities will not have a significant effect.

I think alcohol make me smatter. :wink:
 
  • #13
Standard alcohol does not have methanol in it. If it does, we are talking about below ppm range. That's why it is distilled with benzene un azeotrope the water and methanol off of the ethanol. If there was any little amount of methanol in there. We'd all have a bad day.

Pete
 
  • #14
Existence of ethanol-methanol mixture with greater quantity of methanol then one mentioned in prior text (not connected to ethanol destilation up to azeotrope composition) is real in many traditionaly made drinks (destilation of brewed plants - mixture of plant juices, methanol and ethanol). Why do we not go blid ? Because of existence of one enzyme responsible for alcohol degradation(built for CH3CH2OH), in case of greater conc. of ethanol all alc. dehydrogenase molecules will be occupied with ethanol molecules, and methanol will pass through the system untouched, as consequence of competative mechanism of degradation by a alc. dehyd.
 
  • #15
Methanol is not found in any store liquors. i would like to revise my previous statement by saying, you probably cannot detect any quantity of methanol in store alcohol.

Even in lose doeses, even at ppm, it will poision you and make you go blind.

Methanol is banned in most places for commerical use.

Believe me, the liquor at stores you buy is ethanol, water, and other flavors to create the drink, no methanol.

Pete
 
  • #16
Sory it's just geographical incompatibilty :). Down at my geo widths peopele are still drinking alcohol drinks made by simple destilation process (God knows how old, it has not changed for a 8 centurys, since it came to this areas). It's kind of tradition, and in that way made drinks (mostly from plums) there's certanly more methanol than allowed by EU regulations, but there's no death cases or people going blind, it's another story with stuff commericaly sold ... I have to run now I'll elaborate this more detailed another time..

p.s. ppm - relates to which measure ?
 
  • #17
PPM=Part per Million

I have found this site:

http://www.stillcooker.servebeer.com/thebigquestion.html

This is a kinky dink site :-) but it does what we need it to. It does prove some of the stuff i said wrong i.e. that you need under a 1ppm concentration to not be poisoned. According to this Methanol can be consumed to 200ppm without issue.(I'm assuming your body can't get above this level because without a volume it makes no sense just to have a concentration)

But still, even in a simple laboratory distillation, methanol boils at ~64.7ºC and Ethanol boils at ~78.4ºC. Even in a simple distillation there is a ~14º difference which means if you got methanol into this, you were heating way to quick and was not paying attention to the distillation.

Though i do admit, eagleone, that methanol can be ingested a "little" bit and our bodies can handle it. Good catcha. Now I have learned something today.

Pete
 
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  • #18
Pete,
As an ex-chemist, I can tell you that you're ideas on distillation are a little black and white. Just because the two alcohols have diff BP, doesn't mean that one boils off, then the other. Early in the distillation the MeOH would be in a higher percentage (relative to it's concentration in the boiling liquid), and gradually drop as the temp of the condensing liquid rises.

Think about it, when liquor is distilled, it doesn't come off as the 90% ethanol-water azeotrope, but a lower percentage. In a typical organic lab a reflux condenser is used to put more sharpness between each aliquot (it has the same effects as multiple distillations).

That said, I would expect the percentable of MeOH to be so low as to be almost insignificant. Certain higher chain alcohols are produced in more distinct amounts, and are usually referred to as fusile oils (by the distilled beverages community).
 

1. What are the short-term effects of alcohol on the brain?

Short-term effects of alcohol on the brain include impaired judgment, reduced inhibitions, slurred speech, and slowed reaction time. These effects can vary depending on the amount of alcohol consumed and the individual's tolerance level.

2. How does alcohol affect brain chemistry?

Alcohol affects brain chemistry by altering the activity of neurotransmitters, which are chemicals responsible for communication between brain cells. Alcohol can increase the activity of certain neurotransmitters, leading to feelings of relaxation and pleasure, while also decreasing the activity of others, resulting in impaired cognitive function.

3. Can alcohol cause long-term damage to the brain?

Yes, excessive and prolonged alcohol consumption can cause long-term damage to the brain. This includes shrinkage of brain tissue, impaired cognitive function, and an increased risk of developing neurological disorders such as dementia. Chronic alcohol use can also lead to a condition known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, which can cause permanent brain damage.

4. How does alcohol affect the developing brain of teenagers and young adults?

The developing brain of teenagers and young adults is particularly vulnerable to the effects of alcohol. Alcohol consumption during this stage of development can disrupt the normal growth and formation of brain cells, leading to long-term cognitive and behavioral problems. It can also increase the risk of developing alcohol addiction later in life.

5. Is there a safe amount of alcohol that can be consumed without negative effects on the brain?

The effects of alcohol on the brain can vary depending on individual factors such as age, weight, and overall health. However, it is generally recommended to limit alcohol consumption to no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men to minimize potential negative effects on the brain. It is important to note that even small amounts of alcohol can have negative effects on the brain, especially in underage individuals and pregnant women.

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