Medications

Fears over life-saving drug unfounded, finds review

Fears over a drug that can be used to treat alcohol addiction are unfounded, according to its first ever systematic review, led by academics at The University of Manchester.

Neuroscience

Different brain areas linked to smoking and drinking

Academics at the University of Warwick have found that low functional connectivity of the lateral orbitofrontal cortex that is associated with the tendency to smoke is associated with increased impulsiveness—which may contribute ...

Addiction

Team finds high-risk drinking common in South Africa

Adults in South Africa consume more alcohol than adults in most other countries; previous research has shown this comes with high rates of fetal alcohol syndrome and is a driver of the country's leading causes of death: sexually ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Mayo Clinic Q&A: Treating bipolar disorder

Dear Mayo Clinic: What's the difference between bipolar 1 disorder and bipolar 2 disorder? How are they diagnosed? Is the treatment different?

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Alcohol

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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