Don't Binge (Drink) and Break Your Arm

Next time you drink, make sure you don't fall down and break any bones.  A new study has found that drinking -- well, binge drinking -- impairs the healing of bone.

According to newswise.com, alcohol "slows healing on the cellular and molecular levels."

“Many bone fractures are alcohol-related, due to car accidents, falls, shootings, etc.,” the Web site quotes Roman Natoli, MD, PhD, a study author. “In addition to contributing to bone fractures, alcohol also impairs the healing process. So add this to the list of reasons why you should not abuse alcohol.”

Researchers studied the effects that alcohol consumption had on bone healing in mice, newswise.com reports. One group of mice was exposed to alcohol levels roughly equivalent to three times the legal limit for driving. A control group was exposed to equal amounts of saline (salt water).

Sure enough, the study found three ways in which alcohol impaired bone healing after a fracture:


  • The alcohol-exposed mice had less callus, the hard bony tissue that forms around the ends of fractured bones, so less bone was forming. The bone that did form was not as strong.
  • The mice who drank the alcohol showed signs of oxidative stress, a process that impairs normal cellular functions, and thus, healing.
  • The levels of two proteins used to form stem cells that aid in healing were much lower.
So if you're going to drink, be careful, seems to be the advice.  



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