Psychology & Psychiatry

Intoxication brings strangers physically closer, study finds

In a study with pandemic-related implications, researchers report that strangers who consume alcohol together may keep their distance initially—but draw physically closer as they become intoxicated. No previous studies ...

Oncology & Cancer

Combining BMI with body shape better predictor of cancer risk

New research being presented at The European Congress on Obesity (ECO) held online this year, suggests that a measure of body shape should be used alongside body mass index (BMI) to help determine the risk of obesity-related ...


Alcohol deaths hit 20-year high in lockdown: UK data

Alcohol deaths in England and Wales have reached the highest levels in 20 years following a sharp rise since the start of COVID lockdown, according to government data released on Thursday.

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In chemistry, an alcohol is any organic compound in which a hydroxyl group (-OH) is bound to a carbon atom of an alkyl or substituted alkyl group. The general formula for a simple acyclic alcohol is CnH2n+1OH. In common terms, the word alcohol refers to ethanol, the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages.

Ethanol is a colorless, volatile liquid with a mild odor which can be obtained by the fermentation of sugars. (Industrially, it is more commonly obtained by ethylene hydration—the reaction of ethylene with water in the presence of phosphoric acid.) Ethanol is the most widely used depressant in the world, and has been for thousands of years. This sense underlies the term alcoholism (addiction to alcohol).

Other alcohols are usually described with a clarifying adjective, as in isopropyl alcohol (propan-2-ol) or wood alcohol (methyl alcohol, or methanol). The suffix -ol appears in the IUPAC chemical name of all alcohols.[citation needed]

There are three major subsets of alcohols: primary (1°), secondary (2°) and tertiary (3°), based upon the number of carbon atoms the C-OH group's carbon (shown in red) is bonded to. Ethanol is a simple 'primary' alcohol. The simplest secondary alcohol is isopropyl alcohol (propan-2-ol), and a simple tertiary alcohol is tert-butyl alcohol (2-methylpropan-2-ol).

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