New research shows weekend binge drinking could leave lasting liver damage

May 1, 2013, University of Missouri School of Medicine

Long after a hangover, a night of bad decisions might take a bigger toll on the body than previously understood. Described in the current issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, a study at the University of Missouri has revealed a unique connection between binge drinking and the risk for developing alcoholic liver disease and a variety of other health problems.

"In our research, we found that has a profound effect on the in various modes of alcohol exposure," said Shivendra Shukla, PhD, Margaret Proctor Mulligan Professor at the University of Missouri School of Medicine and corresponding author of the study. "No longer can we consider chronic as the only factor in developing alcoholic liver disease."

Shukla said it's important to note there will be more liver injury in a chronic alcoholic if that person binge drinks, but a binge drinker may sensitize the liver over a longer period and make it prone to more damage. MU researchers studied the effects of binge drinking when coupled with chronic alcohol consumption and also in isolated cases of binge drinking not associated with chronic alcohol consumption.

Nationwide and in Missouri, binge drinking is on the rise. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines binge drinking for women as having four or more drinks in two hours; for men, it is five or more drinks in two hours. An estimated 29 percent of women and 43 percent of men have reported experiencing at least one binge drinking episode over the course of a year.

Through their study of alcohol exposure in rats, researchers in Shukla's lab found binge drinking amplifies injury to the liver when there was pre-exposure due to chronic consumption. As the main metabolic site for the body, the liver affects many systems in the body, including nutrient and drug metabolism and distribution, as well as the production of multiple agents that are needed for the heart, kidney, blood vessels and brain to function properly.

"Binge drinking should not be associated with only liver damage," said Shukla, a professor of medical pharmacology and physiology. "It creates an inflammatory response in the liver that is like a cluster bomb, sending out various damaging signals to systems in the body. If those organs are working at a lower level of function, then a whole host of physiological processes is affected."

Explore further: Binge drinking can dramatically amplify damage to the liver

Related Stories

Binge drinking can dramatically amplify damage to the liver

January 22, 2013
Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is characterized by a fatty liver, hepatitis, fibrosis, and cirrhosis. Binge drinking is on the rise worldwide, and is particularly common in the U.S. A review of studies addressing the effects ...

The effect of occasional binge drinking on heart disease and mortality among moderate drinkers

February 2, 2012
Most studies have found that binge drinking is associated with a loss of alcohol's protective effect against ischemic heart disease (IHD) and most studies have found an increase of coronary risk among binge drinkers.

NIH develops improved mouse model of alcoholic liver disease

March 1, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Scientists may be better able to study how heavy drinking damages the liver using a new mouse model of alcohol drinking and disease developed by researchers from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse ...

Binge drinking serious problem for US women

January 8, 2013
Binge drinking is an under-recognized problem for US women, nearly 14 million of whom engage in it about three times a month, downing about six drinks each time, says a study released Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Sweet, bitter, fat: New study reveals impact of genetics on how kids snack

February 22, 2018
Whether your child asks for crackers, cookies or veggies to snack on could be linked to genetics, according to new findings from the Guelph Family Health Study at the University of Guelph.

The good and bad health news about your exercise posts on social media

February 22, 2018
We all have that Facebook friend—or 10—who regularly posts photos of his or her fitness pursuits: on the elliptical at the gym, hiking through the wilderness, crossing a 10K finish line.

Smartphones are bad for some teens, not all

February 21, 2018
Is the next generation better or worse off because of smartphones? The answer is complex and research shows it largely depends on their lives offline.

Tackling health problems in the young is crucial for their children's future

February 21, 2018
A child's growth and development is affected by the health and lifestyles of their parents before pregnancy - even going back to adolescence - according to a new study by researchers at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, ...

Lead and other toxic metals found in e-cigarette 'vapors': study

February 21, 2018
Significant amounts of toxic metals, including lead, leak from some e-cigarette heating coils and are present in the aerosols inhaled by users, according to a study from scientists at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public ...

Why teens need up to 10 hours' sleep

February 21, 2018
Technology, other distractions and staying up late make is difficult, but researchers say teenagers need to make time for 8-10 hours of sleep a night to optimise their performance and maintain good health and wellbeing.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.