A new mice study by the University of Missouri School of Medicine shows that extreme liver damage can occur as a result of combining chronic alcohol use and binge drinking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention roughly one out of six adults engages in binge drinking four times each month. Binge drinking is classified as consuming excessive amounts of alcohol with the goal of becoming intoxicated, an a binge can last from hours to days or even longer when severe substance abuse is a problem. When chronic alcohol use is combined with this destructive alcohol consumption pattern the result is even more damage to the liver than what was previously thought.
According to the lead author of the binge drinking and chronic alcohol use study, Shivendra Shukla, Ph.D, “Heavy binge drinking by those who habitually consume alcohol is the most common cause of liver damage in chronic alcoholic liver disease. We know that this behavior causes large fatty deposits in the liver that ultimately impair the organ’s ability to function properly. However, we wanted to understand the mechanism that causes this damage and the extent of the harm. Our research focused on different forms of alcohol abuse and the results of those behaviors.” Shukla continued by explaining “Either chronic alcohol use or acute repeat binge episodes caused moderate liver damage when compared to the control group not exposed to alcohol. Drinking alcohol excessively can create an inflammatory response to the liver and other organ systems in the body. If those organs work at a lower level of function, then a whole host of physiological processes can be affected. It is important for us to understand the extent of damage caused by alcohol abuse, which also can lead to other health issues such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer.”