Wie ein Kater nach zuviel Alkohol entsteht (Frohes Neues Jahr 2012)

Vielleicht eine für viele heute interessante Information: Die Auswirkungen von Alkohol aus dem Buch „Your Inner Fish“ von Neil Shubin

The way we perceive acceleration is based on yet another part of our inner ear, connected to the previous two. There are three gel-filled tubes inside the ear; each time we accelerate or stop, the gel inside the tubes moves, causing the nerve cells to bend and stimulate a current. The whole system we use to perceive position and acceleration is connected to our eye muscles. The motion of our eyes is controlled by eight small muscles attached to the side walls of the eyeball. The muscles contract to move the eye up, down, left, and right. We can move our eyes voluntarily by contracting these muscles each time we decide to look in a new direction; but some of the most fascinating properties of these muscles relate to their involuntary action. They move our eyes all the time, without our even thinking about it. (…) This motion is so commonplace that we take it for granted, but it is incredibly complex. Each of the eight muscles in both eyes is responding to the movement of the head. Sensors in your head, which I’ll describe in the next section, record the direction and velocity of your head’s movement. These signals are carried to the brain, which then sends out signals telling your eye muscles to fire. Think about that the next time you fix your gaze as your head is moving. This system can misfire, and misfires have much to tell us about our general well-being. An easy way to understand the inner ear–eye connection is to interfere with it. One way humans do this is to imbibe too much alcohol. Drinking too much ethanol leads us to do silly things because our inhibitions are lowered. Drinking way too much gives us the spins. And the spins often predict a lousy morning ahead, hungover, with more spins, nausea, and headache. When we drink too much, we are putting lots of ethanol into our bloodstream, but the fluid inside our ear tubes initially contains very little. As time passes, however, the alcohol diffuses from our blood into the gel of the inner ear. Alcohol is lighter than the gel, so the result of the diffusion is like the result of pouring alcohol into a glass of olive oil. Just as the oil moves around in the glass as the alcohol enters, so the gel inside our ear swirls. The convection wreaks havoc on the intemperate among us. Our hair cells are stimulated and our brain thinks we are moving. But we are not moving; we are slumped in a corner or hunched on a barstool. Our brain has been tricked. The problem extends to our eyes. Our brain thinks we are spinning, and it passes this information to our eye muscles. The eyes twitch in one direction (usually to the right) as we try to track an object moving from side to side. If you prop open the eyes of someone who is stone drunk, you might see this stereotypical twitch, called nystagmus. Police know this well, and often look for nystagmus in people whom they have stopped for driving erratically. Massive hangovers involve a slightly different response. The day after the binge, your liver has done a remarkably efficient job of removing the alcohol from your bloodstream. Too efficient, for we still have alcohol in the tubes in our ears. That alcohol then diffuses from the gel back into the bloodstream, and in doing so it once more sets the gel in motion: the spins again. Take the same heavy drinker whose eyes you saw twitch to the right the night before and look at him during the hangover. His eyes might still twitch, but in the opposite direction.

Neil Shubin führt dann an, dass diese Sinnesorgane auch bei Tieren vorkommen, insbesondere bei Fischen, die ähnliche Organe haben um zB Strömungen im Wasser festzustellen. Hätten diese damals eine Flüssigkeit verwendet, die bei Alkohol nicht dreht, dann hätten wir heute weniger Probleme nach viel Alkohol. Die Gleichheit der Systeme ist ein Indiz für unsere Abstammung durch Evolution von den Fischen (das Hauptthema des Buches, dass in dieser Hinsicht einiges an interessanten Informationen bereithält, sowohl zum Übergang vom Wasser zum Land als auch bezüglich der diversen Umformungen, die unsere Körper vom Fisch zum Landbewohner durchgemacht haben und der dabei verbliebenen Spuren.

Wer sich mit den entsprechenden Übergangen vom Fisch zum Land und den Spuren in uns davon beschäftigen möchte, dem sei das Buch empfohlen.

Im übrigen wünsche ich einen katerfreien Beginn und einen guten Verlauf des Jahres 2012!

P.S: Ein neues Jahr ist natürlich immer eine gute Gelegenheit das alte Jahr zu betrachten und zu planen, wie das neue Jahr laufen soll. Welche Themen oder Artikel fandet ihr im letzten Jahr besonders gut, welche Themen sollten mehr oder überhaupt behandelt werden, was werden die dringendsten Probleme im Jahr 2012 zwischen Männern und Frauen sein, was gibt es sonst interessantes?