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DUI charges dropped for woman who claims her body brews alcohol

A DUI charge was dropped for a woman in New York who has a rare syndrome — her body brews alcohol like a brewery. The woman spends more than $7,000, to prove that the ordinary foods consumed by her are converted into alcohol due to excessive intestinal yeast.

The woman was arrested while driving, and was found to have four times the legal limit of blood-alcohol. Her lawyer Joseph Marusak said that she has a rare syndrome called “auto-brewery syndrome,” which causes her digestive system to convert ordinary food into alcohol. The rare condition was first discovered in Japan in the 1970s, and medical experts in the US and Japan mentioned that it has been raised more frequently as people are more aware of the condition.

“It’s a brand new disease and we’re still trying to understand it,” said Dr. Anup Kanodia, Ohio, an expert on the diagnosis.

Kanodia, who tested and monitored the woman estimated that about 50 to 100 people are diagnosed with the syndrome, and 95 percent of people are not aware if they have been inflicted with it. A town judge in Buffalo suburb in Hamburg, dismissed the charges, after her lawyer presented the research on her syndrome. Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, said though it seems like a “get-out-of-jail-free” card, courts tend to be skeptical of such claims.

The case was heard on December 9, and DUI charges were dropped. According to BBC News, the link between this syndrome and long-term antibiotic use is being studied. The article also said that anti-fungal drugs have treated about two cases of this syndrome, and a diet with reduced intake of carbohydrate and sugar. However, a local prosecutor plans to appeal the judge’s decision of dropping the DUI charge. The legal threshold for drunk-driving in New York is 0.08%.

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