Scientists Researching A Drug That Will Keep You Sober


Like the regular twenty-somethings we are, we have to admit we're not averse to the odd night out on the town. But if there's one down side to getting merry on the juice, like any binge drinker will tell you, it's the dreaded hangover the next day that makes it all seem pointless, ill thought out, superficial if you will – besides the notes in your wallet somehow miraculously disappearing in the night.

We've all got our own hangover 'cure' of some kind; from lining your stomach before the night with olive oil (disgusting), to drinking milk in the early hours (classy), replenishing lost fluids with a healthy pint of H2O (clever), or even taking vitamin pills along with you to the bar (sensible). But that might soon all be avoidable, if a drug that is being researched by scientists at the University of California becomes a success.

Taking inspiration from the Chinese practice to often use extracts from their variation on the oriental raisin tree (Hovenia Dulcis) to treat hangovers, the researchers have so far isolated a component of the extract named dihydromyricetin (DHM) that works through preventing alcohol having the usual ill, intoxicating effects on the brain and body, however much of the hard stuff is in your blood. Sound implausible? Perhaps, but then the results begin speaking for themselves.

The group of scientists have been conducting tests of the drug on lab rats liquored up on the equivalent of humans drinking 15 to 20 beers in 2 hours. Sufficient to say, the rats were well and truly bungalowed. The rats were then made to lie on their backs to see how long it would take the intoxicated rodents to stand up, taking them an average time of 70 minutes to de-topple themselves when leaving them to their own bodily devices. However, those injected with the DHM were found to right themselves within an average of just 5 minutes, just under 97% faster than the non-DHM test subjects. The research group also found that the drug unaffected the rats' inquisitiveness when exploring a maze, while those left untreated showed signs of anxiety and the resultant hangover from the booze.

The results even proved solid against vocal critics of the drug who say DHM will only lead to users drinking more and more without the worry of alcohol inhibiting their body or brain. Pharmacologist Jing Liang who led the research team said, “DHM will reduce the degree of drunkenness for the amount of alcohol drunk and will definitely reduce the hangover symptoms. It time, it will reduce their desire for alcohol,” - a point proved in the fact the rats acclimatised to the drug drank considerably less alcohol upon given the choice in the future between sweetened alcohol and sweetened water than their counterpart test subjects. But then, who really wants to go on a night out being entirely sober? Certainly not us, that is for sure. As for the progress of the miracle anti-intoxication drug, the researchers are proposing to test DHM on humans very soon. 

Source: Journal of Neuroscience