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Binge Drinking Leads to Liver Damage

Liver damage from alcohol consumption has always been linked to a chronic drinking problem. However, a study at the University of Missouri reveals that there is also a connection between binge drinking and the risk for developing alcoholic liver disease as well as other health problems.

The study, which was recently published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, found that binge drinking has a significant effect on the liver, whether it is done occasionally or in combination with chronic drinking.  Author Shivendra Shukla, PhD, Margaret Proctor Mulligan Professor at the University of Missouri School of Medicine states that their study shows that chronic alcohol consumption is not the only factor in developing alcoholic liver disease.

Binge drinking is defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as having four or more drinks in two hours for women and five or more drinks in two hours in men. About 30% of women and 40% of men have reported binge drinking at least once over the course of one year.

The researchers studied the effects of alcohol exposure in rats and found binge drinking magnifies liver injury due to chronic alcohol consumption. The liver is the main metabolic site for the body, and its function affects many systems in the body. These include food and drug metabolism and distribution, as well as production of many substances that are needed for the various functions of the brain, heart, blood vessels, and kidney.

Shukla, a professor of medical pharmacology and physiology says that binge drinking should not be associated with liver damage only.  Excessive alcohol intake causes an inflammatory response in the liver that sends out many damaging signals to various systems in the body. She adds that if those organs are working below their usual level of function, then many physiological processes may be affected.


University of Missouri School of Medicine. Weekend binge drinking could leave lasting liver damage. ScienceDaily.

Posted in: Alcohol, Liver Disease, News Briefs

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