Alcohol ‘good for head injuries’

A dose of alcohol may be a good treatment for people with head injuries, new research has revealed

A dose of alcohol may be a good treatment for people with head injuries, new research has revealed.

After studying more than 38,000 head trauma patients, medical experts in Los Angeles have discovered that people appear less likely to die following brain trauma if they have alcohol in their bloodstream. This could be because alcohol dampens the body’s inflammatory response to injury, the US team told Archives of Surgery.

But this news is not an excuse to binge drink: experts also stressed that alcohol can cause medical complications and is a contributing factor to many accidents. However, if the correct dose of alcohol is administered, it can stop the cascade of swelling, inflammation and further destruction of brain cells, known as secondary brain injury.  On the flip side, patients with alcohol in their bloodstream were more likely to experience medical complications during their hospital stay.

Commenting on the findings, Dr John Heyworth, president of the College of Emergency Medicine, told BBC News: ‘This is a long way from thinking about giving alcohol to patients in A&E. But if, in the future, the science and evidence proves that it would be beneficial, we would consider it.’

Professor Michael Oddy, of the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust, said: ‘Despite the intriguing findings the message must be the same – if you wish to avoid a brain injury, use alcohol with care and moderation.’

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