Sunday, 3 January 2016

Drunk Driver Claims "Auto-Brewery Syndrome" and Wins

A woman in New York was able to avoid charges of drink-driving levelled against her after arguing that she suffers from a rare condition called "auto-brewery syndrome".

The 35-year-old schoolteacher, during a hearing told the court that her digestive system sometimes converts food into alcohol.

After her arrest, her doctor conducted tests that found that high levels of yeast in her intestines ferment high-carbohydrate foods.

Medical and legal experts say the condition, also known as gut fermentation syndrome, is being raised more frequently as a defence in drink-driving cases.

The rare medical condition is one in which intoxicating quantities of ethanol are produced through endogenous fermentation within the digestive system. According to experts, one gastrointestinal organism, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a type of yeast, has been identified as a pathogen for this condition.

The effects of the disease can have profound effects on everyday life. As well, the recurring side effects of dizziness, dry mouth, hangovers, disorientation, irritable bowel syndrome, and chronic fatigue syndrome can lead to other health problems such as depression, anxiety and poor productivity in employment. The random state of intoxication can lead to personal difficulties, and the relative obscurity of the condition can also make it hard to seek treatment.

The woman was arrested near Buffalo in October 2014 after police said she was driving erratically, and a breathalyzer test showed that her blood-alcohol level was more than four times the legal limit.

Prosecutors are now seeking to have the charges against the woman reinstated because there is no  standard test for the condition.

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