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Sat. May 18th, 2024

A Belgian man accused of drunk driving was acquitted on Monday after it was revealed that he suffers from a rare condition known as auto-brewery syndrome (ABS), which causes his body to produce alcohol, according to a report from Reuters.

Anse Ghesquiere, the man’s lawyer, stated that her client, who works at a brewery, underwent independent medical examinations by three different doctors, all of whom confirmed he had ABS. Despite the man’s employment in a brewery, the doctors found no evidence of habitual alcohol consumption, linking his high blood alcohol content to his medical condition.

The judge in the Bruges police court, where the case was heard, emphasized in the ruling that the defendant, whose identity has been withheld for privacy reasons, displayed no visible signs of intoxication. This unusual circumstance supported the court’s decision to acquit him of the drunk driving charge.

Lisa Florin, a clinical biologist at AZ Sint-Lucas Hospital in Belgium, explained that people with ABS produce ethanol—the same type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages—within their bodies. However, unlike regular alcohol consumers, people with this condition often experience fewer symptoms associated with intoxication, leading to a discrepancy between blood alcohol levels and outward signs of drunkenness.

The exact cause of ABS is still not fully understood, but experts believe it can develop in individuals with existing gastrointestinal issues or other related conditions. People with ABS are known to ferment carbohydrates into alcohol in their digestive system, leading to unexpected spikes in blood alcohol content.

The Bruges police court’s verdict has garnered attention for its acknowledgment of this rare medical condition, highlighting the complexities and challenges in diagnosing and managing ABS. The ruling also underlines the importance of thorough medical evaluations in cases where medical conditions might influence legal outcomes.

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