In a little more than 24 hours we will be celebrating the arrival of 2015. Some of us are likely to celebrate too much with alcohol so today’s research comes at a good time.[i] Research conducted at the University of Maryland by Dr. Majid Afshar and published in the journal Alcohol indicates that binge drinking is bad for us in an unexpected way.[ii] Most of us are familiar with the common bad outcomes of drunkenness such as hangovers and arrest for drunk driving.
Those involved in healthcare often see the worst outcomes. Trauma injuries from falls, car wrecks and other accidents result in hospital stays and at times death. Alcohol poisoning due to drinking too much in a short time (binge drinking) is common enough that my home state passed a law to help. The law encourages the friends of anyone who has drunk so much that they could die to call for help without fear of being arrested for underage drinking.
The unexpected outcome in the research was that an episode of binge drinking suppresses the immune system. After drinking 4 to 5 ounces of vodka the subjects in the study reached the legal definition of intoxication and impairment with a blood alcohol level of 0.8. After the drinking started blood tests were drawn to measure the level of immune system activity at twenty minutes, two hours and four hours.
The results showed that after an initial increase in immune activity at twenty minutes, the immune systems response fell below normal. This is important when you consider that people injured while drinking often find themselves needing an intact immune system to fight infection. I suppose it’s just another good reason to stay sober.
While the Bible does not forbid drinking alcohol, it does tell us not to get drunk! “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,” (Ephesians 5:18 NAS) Plainly Paul tells us that binge drinking has no place in the life of the Christian. And, medical science tells us just another reason why.
[i]Loyola University Health System. "Binge drinking disrupts immune system in young adults, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 December 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141229092606.htm>.
[ii] Majid Afshar, Stephanie Richards, Dean Mann, Alan Cross, Gordon B. Smith, Giora Netzer, Elizabeth Kovacs, Jeffrey Hasday. Acute Immunomodulatory Effects of Binge Alcohol Ingestion. Alcohol, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.alcohol.2014.10.002