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Understanding auto-brewery syndrome

When you really start to look around at the range of human diversity and the biological differences that come from it, the idea that any medical test can be pinned down to a scientific level of accuracy begins to look pretty amazing. One condition that contributes to this sense of subjectivity is auto-brewery syndrome. Remarkably, those with this condition can function and exhibit no signs of intoxication even when their blood alcohol level is reliably measured at 0.3 or even 0.4 by tests.

How auto-brewery syndrome works

There are a complicated series of factors that come together and lead to the surprising results of this condition:

  • The production of ethanol in the small bowel, caused by the presence of certain strains of yeast
  • The effects of intoxication that may not be felt, but still are present
  • Intoxicating effects that patients can experience at peak levels, without necessarily knowing why

Research into this condition is still relatively new, and while there are numerous articles on CNN and NPR detailing the medical investigations into its causes and effects, there is little established medical literature to be found yet. The report done by NPR is especially informative, because it covers several cases from the last few years and includes perspectives from a pair of doctors who have been actively investigating the condition since they encountered a patient with an infection of brewer's yeast that was producing alcohol internally.

CNN focuses on another case mentioned by the NPR source in more detail, that of a woman whose blood alcohol levels would rise steadily throughout the day, with no apparent symptoms until very near the peak period. The professionals associated with that case have no explanation beyond tolerance for the effects seen, and the woman in question was only discovered to have the condition when the police pulled her over for driving on a flat tire and wound up conducting sobriety tests. The results were so high that they immediately took the woman to a hospital for treatment, where her condition was first documented.

If you are arrested for drunk driving

There are a variety of reasons why people find themselves falling into the cracks in existing DUI laws. From auto-brewery syndrome to faulty tests and improper handling of the process of investigating intoxication in the first place, it can be difficult for someone who has been wrongly charged to sort out what happened. That's where having experienced legal advice is important, and why you should immediately consult an attorney if you find yourself facing any kind of charges relating to operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

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