Neuroscience

Finding the elusive drinking 'brake'

It's a common scene in bars and clubs: messy, falling-down drunk, slurring and incoherent, precariously close to catastrophe … and asking the bartender for another shot.

Genetics

How genes affect tobacco and alcohol use

The use of alcohol and tobacco is closely linked to several diseases, and is a contributing factor in many deaths. A recent study using data from 1.2 million people has now been published in the journal Nature Genetics. Several ...

Medications

Getting behind the wheel on opioids: could be a road to tragedy

Driving while on prescription opioids plays an increasingly significant role in fatal motor vehicle crashes, irrespective of alcohol use and demographic characteristics, according to a new study conducted at Columbia University ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Lower birth weight may up risk for psychiatric disorders

(HealthDay)—After adjustment for family-related factors and gestational age, lower birth weight is associated with a small but significant increased risk for several psychiatric disorders, according to a study published ...

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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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