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Drink driver claims to have auto-brewery syndrome

A BURNETT Heads woman has been convicted of high-range drink-driving after being stopped by police near a primary school.

Lisbeth Joy Stanborough argued she hadn't consumed alcohol in the past year when she was stopped on August 13 last year on Burnett Heads Rd.

The court heard that a police officer stopped Stanborough about 3.15pm and did a breath test, which recorded a positive reading.

Stanborough was transported to Bundaberg Police Station where she returned a reading of 0.212%.

When Magistrate John Smith asked the defendant if she had anything to say, Stanborough said "nothing anyone would believe".

"I have been told I have auto-brewery syndrome but nobody seems to think that exists," she said.

Although it's rare, cases of auto-brewery syndrome, also known as gut-fermentation syndrome are documented in medical literature, but the defence failed to work for Ms Stanborough who was fined $2000 and disqualified from driving for two years.

WHAT IS AUTO-BREWERY SYNDROME?

Auto-brewery syndrome, also known as gut fermentation syndrome, is a rare medical condition in which intoxicating quantities of ethanol are produced through endogenous fermentation within the digestive system.

Numerous cases have been documented in the medical literature.

One gastrointestinal organism, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, has been identified as a pathogen for this condition.

Claims of endogenous fermentation of this type have been used as a defense against drunk driving charges.

One case went undetected for 20 years.

The antifungal drug fluconazole can be effective treatment for the condition since the drug is capable of killing Saccharomyces cerevisiae in the gastrointestinal tract.

The effects of the disease can have profound effects on everyday life; as well the recurring side effects of dizziness, dry mouth, hangovers, disorientation, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, which can lead to other health problems such as depression and anxiety - the random state of intoxication can lead to personal difficulties and the relative obscurity of the condition can also make it hard to seek treatment.

Usually the effects of the condition can be alleviated through a special very low-carbohydrate diet

Source: Wikipedia

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