Original ArticlePostmortem Production of Ethanol and n-Propanol in the Brain of Drowned PersonsMoriya, Fumio PhD; Hashimoto, Yoshiaki MDAuthor Information From the Department of Legal Medicine, Kochi Medical School, Kochi University, Kohasu, Oko-cho, Nankoku City, Kochi 783–8505, Japan Manuscript received September 15, 2003; accepted November 21, 2003. Reprints: Fumio Moriya, Department of Legal Medicine, Kochi University, Kochi Medical School, Kohasu, Oko-cho, Nankoku City, Kochi 783-8505, Japan. E-mail: [email protected] The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: June 2004 - Volume 25 - Issue 2 - p 131-133 doi: 10.1097/01.paf.0000127402.97576.42 Buy Metrics Abstract We examined endogenous ethanol and n-propanol levels in the brain in 29 drowning cases in which ethanol consumption was excluded. Based on the stage of putrefaction of the brain, our cases were classified into 4 groups: pulpified brain (PB, n = 11), softened brain (SB, n = 6), discolored brain (DB, n = 2), and normal brain (NB, n = 10). The endogenous ethanol and n-propanol levels (mg/g), respectively, in the brains from these groups were 1.06 ± 0.401 and 0.076 ± 0.032 in PB, 0.195 ± 0.136 and 0.012 ± 0.009 in SB, and 0.053 ± 0.032 and 0.001 ± 0.001 in DB. Ethanol and n-propanol were not detected in NB. The concentration ratios of ethanol to n-propanol were 16.2 ± 7.1 in specimens with ethanol levels ≥0.50 mg/g (n = 10), and 17.6 ± 13.5 in specimens with ethanol levels of 0.10 to 0.49 mg/g (n = 9). Drinking may strongly be suspected when (1) ethanol concentration in the brain is ≥0.50 mg/g and cerebral ethanol to n-propanol ratio is ≥40; and (2) the concentration of ethanol is 0.10 to 0.49 mg/g and the ethanol to n-propanol ratio is ≥60. © 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.