A 61-year-old man stumbled into a Texas emergency room complaining of dizziness. Nurses ran a Breathalyzer test. The man's blood alcohol concentration was a whopping 0.37 percent, or almost five times the legal limit for driving in Texas.
There was just one hitch: The man said that he hadn't touched a drop of alcohol that day.
The patient had an infection with Saccharomyces cerevisiae, says Barabara Cordell, the dean of nursing at Panola College in Carthage, Texas. So when he ate or drank a bunch of starch — a bagel, pasta or even a soda — the yeast fermented the sugars into ethanol, and he would get drunk. Essentially, he was brewing beer in his own gut. Cordell and Justin McCarthy, a gastroenterologist in Lubbock, reported the case of "auto-brewery syndrome" a few months ago in the International Journal of Clinical Medicine.