Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Blood Alcohol Level

  • Ross ZafonteEmail author
  • Brad Kurowski
  • Nathan D. Zasler
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_8

Synonyms

Blood alcohol concentration; Blood alcohol content

Definition

Measure of alcohol in the blood.

Current Knowledge

Blood alcohol level (BAL) is typically expressed as milligrams or grams of ethanol per deciliter (e.g., 100 mg/dL or 0.10 g/dL). A level of 20–30 mg/dL typically results from the ingestion of one to two drinks. One drink corresponds to 340 mL (12 oz.) of beer, 115 mL (4 oz) of wine, and 43 mL (1.5 oz) of a shot. Blood alcohol levels as low as 20–80 mg/dL can lead to decreased inhibitions and decreased cognitive and motor performance, while levels of 300–400 mg/dL can lead to coma or death. Blood alcohol levels typically correlate inversely with cognitive and motor performance (i.e., as blood alcohol levels increase, cognitive and motor performance decrease). Specifically, increased blood alcohol levels correlate with slower reaction time and inversely correlate with frontal executive function. The tendency to underestimate one’s own blood alcohol level seems to pose...

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References and Readings

  1. Domingues, S. C., Mendonca, J. B., Laranjeira, R., & Nakamura-Palacios, E. M. (2009). Drinking and driving: A decrease in executive frontal functions in young drivers with high alcohol concentration. Alcohol, 43(8), 657–664.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Harrison’s Online – Harrison’s principles of internal medicine (16th edn.). Chapter 372: Alcohol and alcoholism.Google Scholar
  3. Laude, J. R., & Filmore, M. (2016). Drivers who self-estimate lower blood alcohol concentrations are riskier drivers after drinking. Psychopharmacology (Berl), 233(8), 1387–1394.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-016-4233-x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Schweizer, T. A., & Vogel-Sprott, M. (2008). Alcohol-impaired speed and accuracy of cognitive functions: A review of acute tolerance and recover of cognitive performance. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 16(3), 340–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ross Zafonte
    • 1
    Email author
  • Brad Kurowski
    • 2
  • Nathan D. Zasler
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationSpaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationSpaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolCincinnatiUSA
  3. 3.Concussion Care Centre of Virginia, Ltd.RichmondUSA