A rare disease turned a man into a "living brewery" - but notably ruined his life

In the second half of this year, American doctors ascertained the complete recovery of a unique patient - so they decided to tell his unusual story, while maintaining anonymity. In 2011, the man received a purulent wound on his finger and underwent antibiotic treatment, but this did not bring relief. On the contrary, he began to complain of headache, weakness, memory lapses and excessive aggressiveness.

A week later, he was stopped by a police officer for suspicious driving and saw in front of him a very drunk man who insisted that he had not drunk anything. It was true, the patient had a cool attitude to alcohol before, and therefore did not recognize the symptoms of severe intoxication. He was taken to the hospital, where tests showed an alcohol content in his blood at almost 2 ppm. The man was forcibly hospitalized, treated, released, stopped again drunk - and so many times in a row.

The worst part was that no one, including experienced doctors and relatives, believed in his sobriety. The lack of evidence only exacerbated suspicions, and the presence of alcohol in the blood, already in a deadly concentration of more than 4 ppm, put on him the stigma of a complete alcoholic. They did not even want to treat the man after receiving an intracranial injury when he fell drunk, insisting on the pointlessness of therapy.

Fortunately for the patient, who identified some patterns in his condition, he managed to hold out until a visit to the University of Richmond. There, in samples of his feces, they found the fungus Saccharomyces cerevisiae, known as "brewer's yeast." That's when the puzzle finally came together. After treatment with antibiotics, the fungus survived, took root in the man's intestines and began to actively process any carbohydrates into natural alcohol. As soon as the patient ate any product with carbohydrates, he immediately got drunk, and it was impossible to control this process.

The combination of antifungal therapy and probiotics helped to suppress the activity of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and alcohol production was reduced. More than a year and a half has passed since then and no relapses have been noted, although the man tries to avoid carbohydrate-rich foods and constantly checks himself with a breathalyzer. But he never restored relations with society, at best, people believe that he secretly recovered from alcoholism and tells stories, because he is ashamed to confess. The only ones who believed were the doctors - they are now concerned about how much we still do not know about the inner life of our own microflora, and how many different surprises it still hides from us.