An in-body brewery
A North Carolina man has been diagnosed with a rare condition that causes his body to brew alcohol. The unnamed man, 46, began experiencing strange symptoms after taking antibiotics in 2011. He became depressed and suffered memory loss; on one occasion, despite not having drunk a drop, he was pulled over by police and found to have a blood alcohol level 2.5 times the legal limit. Eventually, researchers concluded he had auto-brewery syndrome, which occurs when fungi or bacteria in the gut convert carbohydrates from food into ethanol. The condition usually affects people with diabetes, obesity, or Crohn’s disease, but can occur in otherwise healthy people. “These patients have the exact same implications of alcoholism: the smell, the breath, drowsiness, gait changes,” lead author Fahad Malik, from the University of Alabama, tells CNN.com. “The only difference here is [they] can be treated by antifungal medications.” Malik and his team believe the man’s antibiotics likely changed his gut biome, allowing fungi to grow in the gastrointestinal tract. Following treatment, he is now symptom-free.