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Grease and meds: Scientists researching hangovers say you’re probably doing it right

Did you have one or two too many one evening this weekend and spend the next day nursing a hangover? Then you’ll be glad to read a group of scientists who are dedicated to studying hangovers spent this weekend conducting a research symposium on the issue, and they believe the ingredients to treating your pain are found in most fridges and medicine cabinets.

The Alcohol Hangover Research Group (AHRG) are active researchers in the field of hangovers whose aim is “to elucidate the pathology, treatment and prevention of the alcohol hangover”. That’s right – actual scientists want to treat and prevent hangovers.

The AHRG met at the 33rd Annual Research Society on Alcoholism Scientific Meeting in San Antonio, Texas, between June 26th and 30th. Five speakers presented findings on the causes and consequences of hangovers, although one of the main aims of their meeting was simply to draw attention to the field of hangover studies.

Richard Stephens gave a talk entitled “Utilising predictable social drinking to conduct naturalistic alcohol hangover research”. Prior to the symposium, Stephens spoke to The Atlantic, explaining that most alcohol research is focused on why people drink and the long-term effects, rather than the thumping, destructive power of the hangover, which is its most common backlash.

“One of the reasons we still don’t know much [about hangovers] is because the research effort in this area is much less in this area than in other areas, and maybe rightly so. Maybe there are more pressing questions around alcohol that are being funded, but one thing about science is that you can never discount where the next big discovery is going to come from.”

Of course the million dollar question is whether there is a cure for a hangover. Sadly, the AHRG have yet to come up with anything other than sobriety, however Stephens said there are certainly some ways to treat the symptoms.

A few things were tried and found to heal hangover symptoms—one of them was anti-inflammatory drugs that you might take when you have a headache, and that ties in with the idea of hangover being an inflammatory response due to immunosuppression. But then again, given that headache is one of the top symptoms of hangover it’s not very surprising that headache pills will reduce hangover symptoms.

There are a few other things that have been tried — one was [migraine drug] Tolfenamic acid, which was found to show benefits, and the herb borage was found to ease hangover symptoms…

One of the most effective hangover cures are ones that administer glucose. One of the other mechanisms of the hangover is to do with glucose metabolism and not having enough blood sugar. In Britain one of the most prevalent hangover cures is a big fried breakfast — fried eggs, sausages, baked beans, and all the rest – that’s well-renowned as a hangover cure in Britain, and it probably does work because there are lot of carbohydrates in that meal. And that will restore depleted sugar levels.

So a big greasy breakfast and some Nurofen? Most of us have been doing it right for years.

Via The Atlantic

About the author

Joe was Junior Vice-President at Compu-Global-Hyper-Mega-Net until it was bought out by Bill Gates. He now subedits for Conversant Media and considers it a step up.

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