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What are the effects of alcohol on the brain?

  1. Jul 13, 2003 #1
    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
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 5, 2013
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  3. Jul 16, 2003 #2

    Another God

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    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.
  4. Jul 16, 2003 #3
    Any truth behind that myth that "one sip kills a thousand brain cells"?
  5. Jul 16, 2003 #4


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    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.
  6. Jul 16, 2003 #5
    If you can keep it (the alcohol consumption) moderate, wouldn't the effects be minimized?
  7. Jul 16, 2003 #6


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    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.
  8. Jul 16, 2003 #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.
  9. Jul 17, 2003 #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 ...)
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2003
  10. Jul 17, 2003 #9


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    New connections? I thought that the connections that you have as an adult are all you got, and new connections cannot be made?
  11. Jul 17, 2003 #10
    Well, you don't ever want to drink methanol. It'll make you go blind because of the products formed.
  12. Jul 17, 2003 #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?


  13. Jul 17, 2003 #12


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    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:
  14. Jul 17, 2003 #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.

  15. Jul 18, 2003 #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 existance 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.
  16. Jul 18, 2003 #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.

  17. Jul 19, 2003 #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 ?
  18. Jul 19, 2003 #17
    PPM=Part per Million

    I have found this site:


    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.

  19. Jul 21, 2003 #18
    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).
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