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bibliography * The PainScience Bibliography contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers and others sources, like a specialized blog. This page is about a single scientific paper in the bibliography, Hansen 2010.

You cannot absorb alcohol through your feet

updated
Tags: fun, random, medications, self-treatment, treatment

PainSci summary of Hansen 2010?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible. ★★★☆☆?3-star ratings are for typical studies with no more (or less) than the usual common problems. Ratings are a highly subjective opinion, and subject to revision at any time. If you think this paper has been incorrectly rated, please let me know.

Can you get drunk through your skin? In this MythBusters-style experiment, three adults were “tested” in the office of a Danish hospital: specifically, their feet were submerged in a bowl containting three 700 mL bottles of vodka. It’s hard to tell if the researchers are serious about this, but they obviously had fun doing it!

However, the subjects did not become intoxicated, and their blood alcohol levels did not change. They concluded: “Our results suggest that feet are impenetrable to the alcohol component of vodka. We therefore conclude that the Danish urban myth of being able to get drunk by submerging feet in alcoholic beverages is just that; a myth. The implications of the study are many though.”

Indeed.

~ Paul Ingraham

original abstract

OBJECTIVE: To determine the validity of the Danish urban myth that it is possible to get drunk by submerging feet in alcohol.

DESIGN: Open labelled, self experimental study, with no control group.

SETTING: Office of a Danish hospital.

PARTICIPANTS: Three adults, median age 32 (range 31-35), free of chronic skin and liver disease and non-dependent on alcohol and psychoactive drugs.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary end point was the concentration of plasma ethanol (detection limit 2.2 mmol/L (10 mg/100 mL)), measured every 30 minutes for three hours while feet were submerged in a washing-up bowl containing the contents of three 700 mL bottles of vodka. The secondary outcome was self assessment of intoxication related symptoms (self confidence, urge to speak, and number of spontaneous hugs), scored on a scale of 0 to 10.

RESULTS: Plasma ethanol concentrations were below the detection limit of 2.2 mmol/L (10 mg/100 mL) throughout the experiment. No significant changes were observed in the intoxication related symptoms, although self confidence and urge to speak increased slightly at the start of the study, probably due to the setup.

CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that feet are impenetrable to the alcohol component of vodka. We therefore conclude that the Danish urban myth of being able to get drunk by submerging feet in alcoholic beverages is just that; a myth. The implications of the study are many though.

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This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog.