Dr. Woodrow C. Monte’s Methanol Research – University Of Arizona - Part 6

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forearms, behavioral disturbances, and neuritis. The most characteristic signs and symptoms of methyl alcohol poisoning in humans are the various visual disturbances which can occur without acidosis although they unfortunately do not always appear. Some of these symptoms are the following: misty vision, progressive contraction of visual fields (vision tunneling), mist before the eyes, blurring of vision, and obscuration of vision.


Alcoholics in general, but particularly those who consume large quantities of wine or fruit liqueur, would seem, from the available evidence, to be the only population thus far exposed to consistently high levels of methanol ingestion (Table 1). The high ethanol/methanol ratio of alcoholic beverages must have a very significant protective effect, though enzyme kinetics mandate some constant but low level of methanol metabolism. One could speculate that the delicate balance which maintains this defense might be jeopardized by the general nutritional neglect and specifically the folic acid deficiency associated with the meager food intake of some alcoholics. Alcoholics have a much higher incidence of cancer and other degenerative diseases, none of which can be attributed to ethanol alone. The fascinating similarities linking unusual clinical features of methanol toxicity and alcoholism are worth noting.


Chronic occupational exposure to methanol often produces human complaints of neuritis with paresthesia, numbing, prickling and shooting pains in the extremities.

Alcoholic polyneuropathy or multiple peripheral neuritis21 differs symptomatically from the methanol induced syndrome only in its first and often exclusive affinity for legs. The unpleasant sensations of intolerable pain associated with slight tactile stimulation is not an uncommon anecdotal consumer complaint following long term consumption of aspartame. In one such case reported to me, my interpretation of an electromyogram indicated the signs of denervation indicative of alcoholic polyneuropathy. The individual's ischemic lactate pyruvate curve, before and after fasting, was flat. Less that six weeks after aspartame consumption ceased the major symptoms subsided and repetition of these tests produced normal responses, although the individual still experienced intermittent pain.


Methanol is one of the few etiologic factors associated with acute pancreatic inflammation. Microscopic findings of pancreatic necrosis on autopsy have been reported after acute oral methanol poisoning. In fact, pancreatic injury probably...


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