Sunday, September 29, 2013

Some People Can Make Beer In Their Guts - How Doctors Diagnose Strange Conditions

My opinion:  I must say, this case is truly bizarre.  I never would have guessed that it is possible to become drunk just by eating regular foods, although the article's explanation for this phenomena does make sense.  So what I'm wondering is this:  How do doctors manage to diagnose rare and even strange conditions?  Certainly, most doctors would suspect that this man was drinking and not admitting it.  And it is quite likely that a doctor may come across at least a few rare cases over his or her career.  The sad part is that, if the doctor cannot diagnose the illness correctly, then the patient might die. Perhaps being a doctor involves reconsidering treatments.  If the treatment for the first diagnosis doesn't work, then maybe the second one will.  And if the person is an outpatient, then he or she may become an inpatient so the doctor can monitor exactly what happens, like in this case.  Any other ideas?  Feel free to comment.

 

Auto-Brewery Syndrome: Apparently, You Can Make Beer In Your Gut

Most of us prefer drinking fermented beverages,€” not producing them in our gut.
Most of us prefer drinking fermented beverages,€” not producing them in our gut.
Morgan Walker/NPR
This medical case may give a whole new meaning to the phrase "beer gut."
A 61-year-old man — with a history of home-brewing — stumbled into a Texas emergency room complaining of dizziness. Nurses ran a Breathalyzer test. And sure enough, the man's blood alcohol concentration was a whopping 0.37 percent, or almost five times the legal limit for driving in Texas.
There was just one hitch: The man said that he hadn't touched a drop of alcohol that day.
"He would get drunk out of the blue — on a Sunday morning after being at church, or really, just anytime," says , the dean of nursing at Panola College in Carthage, Texas. "His wife was so dismayed about it that she even bought a Breathalyzer."
Other medical professionals chalked up the man's problem to "closet drinking." But Cordell and Dr. Justin McCarthy, a gastroenterologist in Lubbock, wanted to figure out what was really going on.
So the team searched the man's belongings for liquor and then isolated him in a hospital room for 24 hours. Throughout the day, he ate carbohydrate-rich foods, and the doctors periodically checked his blood for alcohol. At one point, it rose 0.12 percent.
Eventually, McCarthy and Cordell pinpointed the culprit: an overabundance of brewer's yeast in his gut.
That's right, folks. According to Cordell and McCarthy, the man's intestinal tract was acting like his own internal brewery.

From: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/09/17/223345977/auto-brewery-syndrome-apparently-you-can-make-beer-in-your-gut

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