The Question

With death from alcohol-related causes as the fourth-most preventable cause of death in the United States, attributed to 88,000 fatalities annually, understanding the chemistry of  alcohol metabolism is of particular relevance (1). How does ethanol get metabolized once entering the human body, and what are the specific enzymes that assist this breakdown? Additionally, what is the molecular reasoning for abstaining from drinking alcohol while taking certain medications like acetaminophen?

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Figure 1: Percent of alcohol-attributable deaths for 2006-2010. Alcohol-attributable deaths include alcohol poisoning, violence, motor-vehicle collisions, as well as diseases like breast cancer and heart disease (2).

1 Comment

  1. The map is very interesting: I had no idea prevalence of alcohol related deaths had such geographic trends.

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