Alcohol consumption all around the world is high. The effects seen are deemed normal and are written off as a ‘hangover’. The hangover, however, is because the body builds up toxic products of the alcohol metabolism when the liver reaches its full capacity detoxifying the alcohol in the blood.
While the guidelines for alcohol consumption have been proposed, people generally tend to over look them and consume large amounts of alcohol in one setting. Binge drinking is therefore a major problem that needs to be addressed. The current guidelines for alcohol consumption consider binge drinking when a woman consumes more than 4 drinks and a man consumes more than 5 drinks in a single session. It is estimated that binge drinking in youth amounts to 90% of all drinks consumed by them, while 1 in every 6 adults tend to abuse alcohol.
The study led by Professor Mike Page of the University of Huddersfield was published in the Journal of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. According to Page, the brain suffers the consequences of ingestion of too much alcohol and gets inflamed leading to neuronal death.
In his study, he showed that there was one compound that decreased the effects of alcohol insult, names Ethane-beta-sultam. Working with mice, the researchers saw that mice that were given ethane-beta-sultan, before they ingested alcohol in large amounts, showed little brain damage then the mice that were not given the drug.
Since it is difficult to get drugs across the blood-brain-barrier (BBB), it is better to take on the preventive approach. An increase in alcohol consumption leads to the activation of a kind of cells, the glial cells that protect the brain against bacteria and other toxins like alcohol and tighten the BBB, in an attempt at preventing inflammation. The new drug however, passes the BBB with ease and protects the brain from damage done by alcohol.
Although the drug may not get approval and may be negated for masking harmful effect of binge drinking, Page admits “But if you accept that alcohol abuse is going to continue, then it might be sensible for society to try and treat it in some way.”