Please Explain: Alcohol

Friday, November 06, 2009

Our latest Please Explain is all about alcohol--what it is, how it works and the ways it affects our bodies. We'll be joined by Dr. Rueben Gonzales, Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Texas and by Dr. Henry R. Kranzler, Professor of Psychiatry and Genetics and Developmental Biology at the University of Connecticut Health Center.


Dr. Rueben Gonzales

Comments [25]


Reply to comment #24

Ha-ha, you hit the nail right on the head, LOL!!

Aleca :-)

Dec. 27 2009 08:10 PM
Myrna Klotzkin from South Salem, NY

I thought, at first, that this was an April Fool show! Alcohol is a hydrocarbon?? When corrected by a caller, the guest insisted it was a 'classic' hydrocarbon, no less. Wow, that is a foolish statement. He also said that alcohol was made from yeast. (NO, it is made from fermentation of sugars. Yeast is the catalyst). And, is water a diuretic? This from a doctor??

Choose your experts with more care or don't ask doctors about chemistry.

Nov. 06 2009 07:01 PM
david ores md from New York City

relationship of alcohol to gun shot trauma, stabbings , criminal violence and damage to others via drunk driving.

Many ER visits are associated with a drunk person.

Do other drugs have these associations of such tremendous social damage.

Nov. 06 2009 02:10 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Small molecule, like those of alcohol, are able to get through the blood-brain barrier. Most medicinal drugs have molecules that are too large & complex to penetrate the barrier; they might be soluble in alcohol, but the alcohol wouldn't be able to carry them through the blood-brain barrier.

Nov. 06 2009 02:04 PM
Estelle from Austin

I've heard that dark-colored liquors are more likely to cause hangover than clear ones, because of some chemical present. Is this true?
(Also I second that question about one glass of wine making one sleepy!)

Nov. 06 2009 01:57 PM
nicole from hastings on hudson

Would the guest explain the way yeast overgrowth in the gut produces alchohol in the body and causes a child to have ADD?

Nov. 06 2009 01:55 PM
J from Brooklyn

Does alcohol affect people of different ethnicities differently? Is the rumor true that many Asians cannot digest alcohol the same as Caucasians?

Nov. 06 2009 01:55 PM
Amelia from Brooklyn

After a long night of drinking, I drink about 8 ounces of Coconut water and with out fail I wake up with out a hang over. Why is this?

Nov. 06 2009 01:53 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Is alcohol effective against bacteria within the alcoholic drink itself? I've read that before pasteurization was possible, alcoholic drinks & drinks made w/boiled water were the only 2 types that were "safe," at least with regard to germs!

Nov. 06 2009 01:53 PM
Fish from brooklyn

Why do I get very sleepy after drinking one glass of wine?

Nov. 06 2009 01:53 PM
Amy from new york, ny

Is there any truth to the myth that mixing types of alcohols makes a person more intoxicated or have a worse hangover?

Nov. 06 2009 01:51 PM
ed from Staten Island

As a bartender I've observed a scientific basis for varying effects of different types of alcohol, which is that they are consumed differently. People get energized by Tequila because they're frequently drinking it in shots, whereas Bourbon is more often sipped slowly hence the perceived mellowness.

Nov. 06 2009 01:51 PM
andrew grell from new york city

Please remind your guest that alcohol is not a hydrocarbon. Hydrocarbons have no oxygen in them. WNYC is supposed to be the station where there is some remaining credibility, and this kills that.

Nov. 06 2009 01:49 PM
Ashton from Chelsea, Manhattan

When I came to NYC in 1963 (at 24 yrs of age), I discovered the pre-dinner cocktail. Since then, I have cultivated and sustained the habit of a pre-dinner drink. I was led to believe that a pre-dinner drink stimulates the appetite.

Because I usually only have one drink, this practice has received my doctor's approval (I'm now 70 yrs old). I drink for taste, not for the influence of alcohol. My question is this: Does alcohol -- in moderation -- have any effect on one's appetite?

Nov. 06 2009 01:48 PM
Robert from Albany,NY

Why is it that some alcoholics are able to consume huge quantities of alcohol and remain somewhat lucid while others are severly impacted from low level doses? Also what is chronic alcohol abuse effects on dementia and Alzheimer's disease?

Nov. 06 2009 01:46 PM
rylee from manhattan

Can you talk about the "dual diagnosis" alcoholic, who self medicates because of mental health problems?

Nov. 06 2009 01:45 PM
Laura Miller from montclair

Is it common to lose tolerance for alcohol as one ages? Even a glass of wine gives me a hang-over, and I know of other people (both men and women) who have had a similar experience. I simply gave up drinking altogether.

Nov. 06 2009 01:45 PM
brad from murray hill

Ethanol is not a hydrocarbon. Hydrocarbons consist solely of hydrogen and carbon atoms. Ethanol contains a hydroxyl group (an oxygen atom connected to another hydrogen atom.) Ethanol is classified as an alcohol and NOT a hydrocarbon.

Nov. 06 2009 01:44 PM
david j from montclair, nj

Why does alcohol help you to fall asleep but usually disturbs sleep later in the night?

Nov. 06 2009 01:44 PM
Joe from Englewood, nj

Is it true that many brain cells are killed by alcohol consumption.
I recall my chemistry teacher claiming that the hangover was the other cells going to the funeral.

Nov. 06 2009 01:42 PM
susan from new jersey

Please expand on what you mean by differences in the way alcoholic and non-alcoholic individuals' brains "manage" alcohol.

Nov. 06 2009 01:39 PM
Paul from NY


Some of my more favorite wines and beers have a higher than usual amount of alcohol. I am thinking of some Priorats and Belgian beers.
How is this done and is it necessary or just a product of a more concentrated ingredients.


Nov. 06 2009 01:34 PM

I heard the alcohol dries out your skin, so why is it a common ingredient in lotion? My uninformed guess is that there are different types of alcohol...

Nov. 06 2009 01:31 PM
dana from ny

my mother has been an alcoholic for 12 years. it destroys brain cells, suppresses emotion which creates irritability and aggression, poisons relationships, in turn warping reality.
yes, i have been affected by her disease, but have come to the clear conclusion after trying for 7 years; she will only stop when she wants. why is this so?

Nov. 06 2009 11:59 AM
George from Bay Ridge

Why does alcohol intoxicate? Does alcohol have the same effect on animals as on humans?

How did humans develop beer?

Nov. 06 2009 04:47 AM

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