How many of you out there have ever gotten too drunk and wished you hadn’t drank so much? I think anybody would be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t answer in the affirmative. If only there was a way to sober up after you’ve realized that last shot of Jagermeister was not a good idea. If only there was, I don’t know, say a pill that just takes the drunk away. Sound too good to be true?
Researchers are about to begin human trials on a pill that, not only instantly sobers drinkers up, but also remedies hangovers and possibly cures alcoholism.
According to New Scientist, pharmacologist and lead researcher Jing Liang conducted a series of experiments on lab rats using a chemical found in a Chinese variety of the oriental raisin tree. The compound, called dihydromyricetin (DHM), has been used as a hangover remedy in China for centuries.
In the first of the experiments Liang injected the rats the amount of alcohol that would be the human equivalent of 15 to 20 beers in two hours. The rats were laid on their backs and researchers measured the time it took for the rats to put themselves upright. On average it took the drunk rats 70 minutes to complete the task. However, rats that were given a small dosage of DHM after receiving the same amount of alcohol performed the task in a mere 5 minutes.
Previous studies have shown when hungover rats displayed anxiety, they would cower in corners of mazes. When given DHM, the once hungover rats would explore the maze as if they were sober.
In the last phase of the study, rats who had shown addiction to alcohol through previously given constant dosages of alcohol were offered a sweetened solution of alcohol or sweetened water. Rats who were given DHM after seven weeks chose the sweetened water over the alcohol and drank less alcohol overall.
Researchers concluded that the DHM blocked alcohol from accessing receptors in the brain. According to Liang, this is why rats appeared to be sober even when they had large amounts of alcohol in their systems.
Sure, this all sounds great, but is it?
While the research looks promising, some argue that such a pill would actually encourage drinking because people can just pop a pill to avoid the normal consequences of drinking too much. Others argue that people might go to the bar with the expectation that they can drive home because all they have to do to avoid a DUI is pop a DHM pill. Another issue that I would have liked the research to address, which it didn’t, is the effects of alcohol on other parts of the body like the liver, especially when someone has the ability to continuously drink without getting drunk.
What are your thoughts?
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