image1 image2 image3


What actually happens when you consume alcohol?

This post is dedicated to all of my friends and acquaintances, especially those at NITK and other colleges.
Most youngsters today are under the impression that drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes makes them look "cool". For those of you who do, first, you are trying to portray yourself as someone you aren't when you do that and in the long run, that is not appreciated in the least; and second, consuming alcohol and not to mention smoking is highly injurious to your health. Here's how intake of excess alcohol can affect you.
For sixteen years, Roberta J Pentney, professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University at Buffalo, has studied chronic alcohol abuse and brain function. She concludes that alcohol damages dendrites - the branched ends of nerve cells that bring messages into the cell.
Alcohol affects the brain, as we all know, causing slurred speech, clumsiness, slow reflexes, and a loss of inhibition.
Alcohol dilates the channels in the cellular structure that regulates the flow of Calcium. More Calcium than normal flows into the cells and stimulates increased activity. This abnormal "turning on" of activity causes a loss of the end segments of the cell. Losing the end segments means losing incoming messages, which disrupts brain function.
The good news is: the damage to the brain cells, for the most part, isn't permanent. The brain repairs itself but the recovery process changes the nerve-cell structure. So reconstruction of the end segments might still result in loss of functionality.
Another researcher, working independently finds similar results: Alcohol slows communications between the nerve cells. Richard Gross, professor of Medicine, Chemistry and Molecular Biology and Pharmacology at Washington University in St. Louis, discovers alcohol combines with the brain cells' fatty acids and forms compounds called fatty-acid-ethyl esters. These compounds, in turn, alter the flow of electric and chemical signals in the brain. A change in this flow alters how the brain works.
A molecule of fatty-acid-ethyl ester latches onto and enters a nerve cell. Inside the cell, the compound speeds up a release of potassium ions, which inhibits the release of neurotransmitters, and that slows down communication between cells.
A drink doesn't kill brain cells straightaway. It damages the way brain cells communicate and the damage is largely reversible.
Most of the facts and statistics have been gathered from Google and Wikipedia. It all started today when I was walking back to the hostel from the football field with a couple of friends. Somehow, the conversation drifted to 'how is the strength of tequila tested' and one of my friends claimed that a worm is dropped in a bottle of tequila and the strength is approved as good if the worm dies before it hits the bottom of the bottle. This made me wonder how exactly alcohol kills a living cell and came across the above information when I searched the Internet. So, the next time you decide to take a shot of Vodka or Tequila, just remember what I have posted.

Share this: