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Strange syndrome converts food to alcohol in the gut

What if you had not consumed any alcohol, but suddenly began exhibiting all of the symptoms of someone who was drunk? What if that occurred when you were behind the wheel of your car?

That is something that has actually occurred to some unlucky people who have a medical condition known as auto-brewery syndrome. This is a condition affecting the digestive tract and is very rare. Patients who are diagnosed with the syndrome begin to ferment alcohol inside of their small bowels as the yeast in the gastrointestinal system converts starchy foods and sugars into ethanol.

The condition also is known by the medical community as gut-fermentation syndrome. Typically, it comes to light only when someone faces legal or other problems related to the disorder, like getting into an accident, arrested for drunk driving or fired for being intoxicated on the job.

One sufferer is a teenager from New Jersey who, at 15, found herself drunk at school for her afternoon classes, sometimes to the point of an alcoholic stupor. Then, she had to deal with the effects of hangovers and memory blackouts.

When doctors failed to uncover a cause for her symptoms, her mother discovered the syndrome being discussed on a television show. Her condition is now managed by dietary restrictions.

But where does that leave the victims who are involved in accidents with those who suffer from auto-brewery syndrome, even if those who are ill do not realize that they have the condition? Regardless of their awareness of their illness, they would still be legally liable for the damages and injuries they inflict, just as a diabetic in insulin shock who causes an accident is liable.

If you are injured in an accident caused by an impaired driver, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries, pain, suffering and other losses.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, "Woman Avoids DUI Explaining Orange Juice Made Her Drunk," Steven Nelson, Jan. 13, 2017

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