In 2011, an otherwise healthy man in the US injured his thumb so badly that he needed antibiotics. Doctors prescribed oral cephalexin, a widely used antibiotic to treat infections.
One week after completing his course, he had some strange symptoms, as documented in a recent BMJ Open Gastroenterology case report. In addition to memory loss, "brain fog" and depressive episodes, he began to go through some personality changes and behave unusually aggressive. This took several years, and in 2014 he was referred to a psychiatrist who treated him with antidepressants.
Then one morning, on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, he was stopped by the police. He refused an alcohol tester, but was admitted to hospital where his blood alcohol level was 200 mg / dl, which was about 7-1
But when the patient insisted on the skeptical doctors and policemen, he had not touched a drink at all.
After the incident, his aunt bought him a breathalyzer, which he wanted to record the alcohol content in his breath. She had heard of similar cases in which people were drunk without drinking alcohol and thought he should keep track of his measurements. She also asked him to see a doctor in Ohio who had successfully treated someone with the disease.
Sure enough, after a carbohydrate test in which the patient is given a carbohydrate meal and whose blood alcohol level is monitored by a few hours – elevated levels, although he did not consume alcohol. His doctors found Saccharomyces cerevisiae (brewer's yeast) in his stool and diagnosed him with the extremely rare auto-brewery syndrome (ABS).
ABS, also known as intestinal fermentation syndrome, causes the digestive system to produce enough ethanol to poison it. The intestines of all humans produce a small amount of alcohol while digesting sugary and starchy foods, but when Saccharomyces cerevisiae is present in your gut, this is on a completely different level. In recent years, several cases have been reported that usually stunned patients were arrested for drinking alcohol after drinking nothing and eating something like bread or basmati rice.
The patient received antifungals to treat the condition, but soon returned to the hospital after it flared up again and he fell and hit his head causing intracranial hemorrhage. Here his doctors would not believe that he has not drunk after a blood alcohol level between 50 and 400 mg / dl.
In search of help, the now 46-year-old man came across the doctors at The Richmond University Medical Center in New York City, who would eventually document this first case of his kind.
Give or take a few bumps on the street – then he was rid of carbohydrates and treated again with oral antifungals Without the doctors' knowledge, he ate pizza and drank sugary soda, which caused a "heavy" relapse of ABS (before you judge Who among you can honestly say that they would reject pizza?) – he was diagnosed with ABS the first documented case of the antibiotic-caused syndrome.
"We postulate that the antibiotic has altered its gut microbiota, allowing the growth of fungi," they wrote in the case report. "This diagnosis should be considered in any patient with positive manifestations of alcohol toxicity who refuse to take alcohol."
The report confirms that 1.5 years later he remains symptom-free and sober and his bowel is no longer a microbrewery.