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Alcohol damages more than the liver


CHICAGO, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- Alcohol not only hurts the liver, it can weaken the immune system, slow healing, impair bone growth and raise the risk of HIV transmission, U.S. experts say.

Elizabeth J. Kovacs, director of Loyola's Alcohol Research Program and of Loyola's Burn & Shock Trauma Institute in Chicago, says alcohol can also hinder recovery from burns, trauma, bleeding and surgery.

At Loyola, about 50 faculty members, technicians, post-doctoral fellows and students are conducting alcohol research that could lead to therapies to boost the immune system or otherwise minimize the effects of alcohol.

"Of course, the best way to prevent the damaging effects of alcohol is to not drink in the first place," Kovacs says in a statement. "But it is very difficult to get people to do this."

Researchers released their latest findings on the negative effects of alcohol at a meeting of the Alcohol and Immunology Research Interest Group, held at Loyola University Medical Center, Kovacs says.


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Information in this article was accurate in November 15, 2010. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.