Drinking lowers your risk of dying in hospital (although it increases your chance of going there in the first place)<br>
Those with higher levels of alcohol in blood were almost 50% less likely to die from injury in hospital<br>Once protective effect is understood patients could be treated with drugs that mimic alcohol, said experts




16:59 GMT, 20 November 2012


<br><p>Scientists have discovered a somewhat dubious benefit of drinking too much – it reduces your risk of dying if you end up in hospital.</p><p>Of course consuming too much alcohol substantially increases your chances of being injured in the first place. However, once there, scientists found even mild intoxication reduces your risk of mortality.</p>
<img src="http://www.big-wife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/16eearticle-2235801-162254D0000005DC-161_468x667.jpg" width="468" height="667" alt="Party out of control Drinking could land you in hospital, but then protect you when you're there" class="blkBorder" />
<p class="imageCaption">Party out of control Drinking could land you in hospital, but then protect you when you're there</p>
<p>'This study is not encouraging people to drink,' said study leader Lee Friedman from the University of Illinois.</p><p>'However, after an injury, if you are intoxicated there seems to be a pretty substantial protective effect.</p><p>'The more alcohol you have in your system, the more the protective effect.'</p><p>Friedman analysed Illinois data for 190,612 patients treated at trauma centres between 1995 and 2009 who were tested for blood alcohol content, which ranged from zero to 0.5 per cent at the time they were admitted to the trauma unit. Of that group, 6,733 died in the hospital.<br></p><p>The study examined the relationship of alcohol dosage to in-hospital mortality following traumatic injuries such as fractures, internal injuries and open wounds. Alcohol benefited patients across the range of injuries, with burns as the only exception.</p><p>

</p><p>The benefit extended from the lowest blood alcohol concentration (below 0.1 per cent) through the highest levels (up to 0.5 per cent).<br></p><p>'At the higher levels of blood alcohol concentration, there was a reduction of almost 50 per cent in hospital mortality rates,' Friedman said.</p><p>'This protective benefit persists even after taking into account injury severity and other factors known to be strongly associated with mortality following an injury.'<br></p><p>Very few studies have looked at the physiological mechanisms related to alcohol and injury in humans. <br></p><p>Some animal studies have shown a neuro-protective effect from alcohol, but the findings of most animal and previous human studies often contradict one another because of different study criteria.<br></p><p>Friedman says it's important for doctors to recognize intoxicated patients but also to understand how alcohol might affect the course of treatment. <br></p><p>Further research into the biomechanism of the protective phenomenon is needed, he said.<br></p><p>If the mechanism behind the protective effect were understood, 'we could then treat patients post-injury, either in the field or when they arrive at the hospital, with drugs that mimic alcohol,' he said.<br></p>