Washington, June 16 (ANI): Alcohol can get to a person's head in just six minutes after taking a drink, according to researchers in Heidelberg.
Using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), the scientists have shown that only six minutes after consuming an amount of alcohol-equivalent to three glasses of beer or two glasses of wine, which leads to a blood alcohol level of 0.05 to 0.06 percent-can cause changes in the brain cells.
While earlier data was only available from animal trials, the new study on humans has shown that the brain reacts quickly to alcohol.
"Our study provides evidence for alternative energy utilization upon alcohol ingestion, i.e. the brain uses an alcohol breakdown product instead of glucose for energy demands," said Dr. Armin Biller at Heidelberg University Hospital.
They demonstrated that the harmful effect of alcohol also sets in quickly.
During the experiment, it was found that the concentration of substances like creatine (energy metabolism), which are attributed with protecting cells, decreases as the concentration of alcohol increases.
Choline, a component of cell membranes, was also reduced.
"That probably indicates that alcohol triggers changes in the composition of cell membranes," said Biller.
The researchers tried to find out if all consumption of alcohol is harmful for the brain.
"Our follow-ups on the next day showed that the shifts in brain metabolites after moderate consumption of alcohol by healthy persons are completely reversible. However, we assume that the brain's ability to recover from the effect of alcohol decreases or is eliminated as the consumption of alcohol increases. The acute effects demonstrated in our study could possibly form the basis for the permanent brain damage that is known to occur in alcoholics. This should be clarified in future studies," said Biller.
In the study, eight male and seven female subjects underwent MRI scanner while they drank alcohol through a long straw to reach a blood alcohol content of 0.05 to 0.06 percent
The study found no differences between the results of male and female individuals-the brains of female and male subjects reacted to alcohol consumption the same way.
The results of the study have been published in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism. (ANI)