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Problems of Forensic Sciences 2002  Vol. 49 (XLIX)  59-73

Dariusz ZUBA1, Wojciech GUBAŁA1, Wojciech PIEKOSZEWSKI1,2, Janusz PACH3, Andrzej PARCZEWSKI1,4
Institute of Forensic Research, Cracow
2Department of Clinical and Industrial Toxicology, Collegium Medicum, Jagiellonian University, Cracow
3Toxicological Clinic, Collegium Medicum, Jagiellonian University, Cracow
4Faculty of Chemistry, Jagiellonian University, Cracow


Blood methanol levels were determined in 138 alcohol addicts (patients of the Toxicological Clinic, Collegium Medicum Jagiellonian University – CMUJ, Cracow), four times during the first day of their detoxification, and in 13 volunteers who consumed alcohol in planned experiments. Methanol concentrations in the blood of the alcoholics at the time of their admission to the hospital were significantly higher, as compared to peak concentrations obtained for people who drink occasionally (p < 0.05). Due to the much higher concentration of ethanol in the alcoholics’ blood, the results were standardised through the division of methanol concentration by ethanol concentration. The mean value of the ratio was also higher for the alcohol addicts, and the difference between means turned out to be statistically significant (p < 0.05). Methanol turned out to be a sensitive and specific marker for alcohol addiction. The threshold value for recognition of alcohol addiction, which amounts to 10 mg/l, was exceeded in ~80% patients of the CM UJ Toxicological Clinic, whereas it was not observed in the control group. Blood methanol levels in the alcohol-addicted participants remained high for ten to twenty hours after admission to the hospital. This means that methanol is a short-term marker of alcoholic disease. Great differences in methanol elimination were observed as well. In occasional drinkers, the methanol concentration rose or remained at the same level until the ethanol concentration dropped below 0.2 g/l. In alcoholics, the methanol was metabolised concurrently with ethanol oxidation. The elimination rate of the methanol depended on its actual concentration and was independent of ethanol concentration.

Słowa kluczowe

Methanol; Alcoholism; Marker; Addiction; SPME.

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