Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Auto-brewery syndrome

A Belgian man has been acquitted of drunk-driving because he has auto-brewery syndrome (ABS), an extremely rare condition whereby the body produces alcohol, his lawyer has said.

Anse Ghesquiere said on Monday that in “another unfortunate coincidence” her client worked at a brewery, but three doctors who independently examined him had confirmed he had ABS.

Belgian media said in the verdict the judge emphasised that the defendant, who was not named in line with local judicial custom, did not experience symptoms of intoxication.

The Bruges police court, which acquitted the man, did not immediately reply to an email requesting comment.

Lisa Florin, a clinical biologist with the Belgian hospital AZ Sint-Lucas, said people with ABS produced the same type of alcohol as found in alcoholic drinks but that they generally felt less of its effects.

People are not born with ABS but can develop it when they already have another intestine-related condition. Patients can present with symptoms consistent with alcohol intoxication such as slurred speech, stumbling, loss of motor functions, dizziness and belching.


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