Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Study: People More Risky When Drunk Than Sober


Answer: Drunk drivers, most victims of alligators and bar fights.

Question: Name three things that result from a reduced sense of fear brought on by drinking.

[WARNING: The following sentence has been determined to be obvious beyond belief.]
A new study--which no doubt cost thousands of dollars--has determined that drinking alcohol dulls the brain's ability to detect threats.


U.S. researchers stated that the the study helps explain why drunk people get into bar fights and drive their cars recklessly. The researchers seemed excited that their study was the first to demonstrate alcohol's effect on the human brain as it responded to threats.

"You see this all the time. People get into confrontations when they are intoxicated that they probably wouldn't get into when they are sober," said Jodi Gilman of the National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, whose study appears in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Ms Gilman studied 12 people who were given intravenous infusions of alcohol and then monitored their brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging while they looked at pictures of frightened and neutral faces.

Her team did the same study on these people when they were given a simple saline infusion as a placebo.

As expected, when people were given the placebo, their brains responded to the fearful faces.

"Our brains respond more to fearful stimuli," Ms Gilman said.

"They signal to us that we are in threatening situations."

When these same people were given infusions of alcohol, however, this response was dulled, suggesting that while intoxicated, "our brain can't distinguish between the threatening and non-threatening stimuli".
[WARNING: The following two sentences have been determined to be obvious beyond belief.]
She said this impaired appreciation for threats could lead to a host of risky situations, including drunk driving. It also explained why alcohol was sometimes called a social lubricant.

"People have used alcohol for years to become euphoric and to decrease anxiety. Alcohol has been used in particular to increase sociability. How alcohol acts on the brain to produce these effects has not been well understood or studied," Ms Gilman said.

Study: Alligator, Too Much Beer Don't Mix well

This real study reminded us of another study announced two years ago in the prestigious Onion Medical Journal.

In a breakthrough study that contradicts decades of understanding about the nature of alligator–drunkard relations, Louisiana State University researchers have concluded that people's drunkenness does not impair the ancient reptiles' ability to inflict enormous physical harm.

That study also had some information to share on the alcohol/risk relationship (not) occuring in the drunk person's brain.
"In 10 out of 10 documented cases of violent alligator–drunkard encounters, the reptile was not influenced by the fact that the victim was 'just kidding' or 'just having some fun,'" said professor Ryder McCrory, chair of the Wildlife Taunting Department of LSU's prestigious Center For Bullying And Hazing Studies.

This study help explain why so many men and women, after a hard night's drinking, fearlessly leave the bar room with such scary partners.

by Mondoreb
image: RidesAPaleHorse
*Drink a beer and lose the fear-study
* Study: Alligators Dangerous No Matter How Drunk You Are

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