Let's be clear: Alcoholism will kill you dead. Drunk driving will kill you, and probably multiple children along the way. There are no medical benefits to chronic drunkenness.
But for all the times booze gets us in trouble, every now and then it acts like a trusty sidekick, coming in to help us out of potentially embarrassing and life-threatening situations in ways we never thought possible.
After the fourth or fifth round of drinks, it's not unusual to see some idiot stand up in the middle of the bar and announce how heroically tough he is and demand that you dare him to jump through a plate glass window. A 22-year-old Russian man named Alexei Roskov, however, decided to dare himself and jumped out of his kitchen window after guzzling three entire bottles of vodka. This was a particularly bad idea since he lived on the fifth floor of his apartment building.
Not only did he not splat messily into the sidewalk like an alcohol-soaked sponge, but to his wife's relief and his own drunken amusement, he wasn't hurt. At all. He just got up, brushed himself off and staggered back upstairs, where his wife was on the phone calling him an ambulance. Not wanting to hang around and listen to her lecture him about how his comically impaired sense of judgment had nearly cost him his life, he jumped out of the window again.
The paramedics that arrived on the scene where baffled to find that Alexei had only a few cuts and bruises after diving from his apartment twice in a row and presumably punched him in the damn face for wasting their time.
In a pattern we'll be seeing throughout this article, the reason Alexei didn't explode into the sidewalk like a mayonnaise jar full of hamburger meat was the same thing that caused his dumbass to try it in the first place: the vodka. A drunk central nervous system is numb, causing the muscles in the body to relax. Then, the same drunken reflexes that make people more likely to park their car in the produce section of your grocery store made Alexei's body less likely to tense up in anticipation of the impact, which it turns out can save your limbs from snapping like twigs.
So in a sense his rampaging alcoholism saved his life despite pushing him from the ledge in the first place, sort of like when Riggs handcuffs that guy and jumps off the building in Lethal Weapon.
"Relax, this is totally going to work."
There seems to be a sweet spot for alcohol consumption that lays along a spectrum from no alcohol to enough to make things a little better to utter ruin. For instance, while most of us recognize that 75 percent of the world's sex occurs under the influence of alcohol (unofficially) because it has a way of lowering our inhibitions, there is also such a thing as "whiskey dick."
That is, you get too drunk to perform due to its sedative effect on the central nervous system, which numbs your body to external stimulus. It's the same reason you slur your speech, sway when you walk or just straight up lose consciousness.
Yet, once again, there is the sweet spot.
Studies have shown that moderate drinkers are actually 20 to 30 percent less likely to have erectile difficulties than non-drinkers. They're not sure why, it may have to do with antioxidants found in some alcohol (the same reason moderate amounts of wine protect against heart disease). Further, it appears that a small amount of alcohol can apparently "improve" a man's erection, according to one expert. We assume "improve" here means it makes it harder/bigger, rather than "adds wings and a laser beam."
According to actual doctors, and presumably not just drunk ones, having a moderate amount of alcohol in your system can actually prevent death from brain trauma. Ironic, considering booze was probably the pied piper that led you to the land of severe head injury in the first place.
In a study involving almost 40,000 cases, researchers found that in younger patients with less severe injuries, having alcohol in their systems actually prevented the spread of swelling and inflammation in their brains (alcohol suppresses the body's inflammatory response). They go so far as to suggest the possibility of administering ethanol to patients with head injuries in the future, so hopefully it's only a matter of time until first responders answer emergency calls with a fully stocked bar in the back.
"Support his neck while I pour the tequila and put the lime in his mouth."
The study does point out that the drunken patients were more likely to run into complications during their stint in the hospital, and like we mentioned before, being drunk is usually what leads to you getting a ride in an ambulance. But we've got to admit, a couple days of free ice cream and vodka would certainly make a brick to the orbital socket less of a downer.
"Hey doc, I totally threw up in the bedpan. Is there more ice cream?"
But of course, just because it helps in these specific brain injuries, it doesn't mean it can, you know make you smarter or anything. Right? Oh hey look, there's a second page to this article ...