Researchers find a cure for hangovers … by getting mice drunk

The risk of a hangover is a threat that looms constantly over the heads of Berkeley students. Whether it’s Pappy’s Taco Tuesday specials, Kips’ daily happy hours, or just your average house party game of beer pong, we are constantly being tempted away from our studies. The drawback of such fun on weeknights, however, is that we may end up feeling like we’ve been hit by a truck during our 8 a.m. Chemistry lecture the next morning.

But new research (and an answer to our prayers) may mean that the pounding headache, dizziness and nausea following a night of too much fun may be a thing of the past. Let us illuminate for you the study of the mice who had one to many …

After getting some mice nice and tipsy in newly released research by UCLA professor Yunfeng Lu and Cheng Ji of USC, the researchers then managed to significantly lower the blood alcohol levels of the mice by injecting them with nanocapsules filled with enzymes. We know what you are probably thinking (if you’re a non biochem major anyway) enzymes? nanocapsules? What does it all mean? Well get ready for some science-y explanations, but we promise it will all be worth it.

Enzymes are essentially just proteins that aid in metabolism. What has prevented researches in the past from using enzymes to speed up alcohol metabolism was the inability to keep these proteins stable. This is where the nanocapsules come into play. They create a cozy little encapsulating home for the enzymes; stabilizing the proteins and allowing them to do their work in your body before degrading. As Lu puts it in an MIT article [Nanocapsules Sober Up Drunken Mice], the treatment is “like having millions of liver cell units inside your stomach or in your intestines, helping you to digest alcohol.” Through their research they found that mice injected with the nanocapsules experienced a significant decrease in their blood alcohol levels … which makes us sympathize with the poor little guys comprising the control group (although not too bad, as they probably didn’t have to take a midterm the next morning).

Unfortunately, since the treatment still hasn’t reached human trials we probably won’t see the benefits of this miracle technology for a while yet. Until then, we suggest sticking with tried and true techniques. So some drink water, eat some LaBo and don’t hesitate to reach for that coffee and aspirin in the morning.

Image Source: columnfive, under Creative Commons