Could acute excessive alcohol intake account for Kavanaugh and his friends’ gaps in memory?

New allegations of sexual misconduct against Judge Kavanaugh has emerged. The Republicans don’t seem to care if the allegations are true or not. They want Judge Kavanaugh to be the next lifetime member of the Supreme Court. Why him? Aren’t their other more qualified nominees?

This post is not to discuss the politics or propaganda behind bashing victims of sexual assault which by the way is very common. About 5 -10years ago, a survey of high school students showed that by age 17 about 75% of girls had been sexually molested. This post is not about rape either. There is a disturbing part of the allegations against Kavanaugh that has not received the attention it deserves.

What about the stories of Judge Kavanaugh’s excessive drinking to the point of incoherence? His circle of friends at both Georgetown Prep School and Yale enjoyed alcohol and drank excessively very frequently. Is it possible Judge Kavanaugh and his drinking friends suffered alcohol-induced blackouts like 40% of college students?

What is alcohol-induced blackout?

Alcoholism is a global health problem that affects 4% of the worldwide population similar to cigarette smoking. Alcohol-induced blackouts can occur in anyone who consumes large amounts of alcohol over a short period especially if there are other risk factors such as a genetic predisposition. One does not have to be an alcoholic or a chronic drinker to have a blackout from alcohol.

The term blackout is confusing as most people think it means passing out, but it does not. Alcohol-induced blackout is amnesia to an event associated with excessive drinking without loss of consciousness. Blackouts are quite common with one study reporting 35% of residents at pediatric residency program reported at least one blackout. Blackouts are common on college campuses with at least 40% of college students surveyed admitted to a blackout the year before the survey.

There are two types of alcohol-induced blackouts: fragmentary and en bloc. Fragmentary blackouts are more common than en bloc or total blackout. With fragmentary blackouts as the name implies there is not total amnesia to the event but fragments of memory– bits, and pieces of memory– still exist and with help recollection is possible. With en bloc blackouts the memory is completely gone and no recollection possible.

The pathophysiology of blackouts is believed to involve the hippocampus which regulates memory and plays a vital role in emotions. Alcohol suppresses brain cells within the hippocampus, preventing the creation of long-term memories. The suppression of long-term memory results in the amnesia seen in blackouts.

Other areas of the brain though impaired still function during a blackout. A severely intoxicated person experiencing a blackout could be conscious, carry a conversation, interact with the environment and when sober not have any recollection if the blackout was en bloc.

Also, people who blackout are at high risk for dangerous and violent behaviors, including rape and murder.

Could Judge Kavanaugh have sexually assaulted women at Georgetown Prep and Yale and not remember? Most definitely, given his history of excessive drinking to the point of incoherence. Perhaps the investigation start there?



Reference and related stories:

1.  Alcohol-Induced Blackout

2. Dr Ford ‘s Story Could Be The Truth And So Could Kavanaugh’s Story, How?

3.  Yale Law School’s Reckoning Over Brett Kavanaugh

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On Thursday, The Guardian reported that two prominent law-school faculty members, Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld, had advised female students interviewing for clerkships with Kavanaugh to dress attractively. (Chua denied those allegations in a letter to the law-school community.) Then, over the weekend, a majority of law-school faculty members—including two former deans, Robert Post and Harold Koh—signed an open letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee calling for a full investigation into the accusations against Kavanaugh.

By that point, a group of about 50 law-school students had already begun organizing the sit-in. What began as a discussion about politics in Washington became a reckoning with a culture in New Haven that has divided students and faculty members. “Some people are scared, some people are angry,” said Nick Kilstein, a first-year law student.


Source of images:  The Atlantic