A cure for the hangover?

For those who have seen the movie “The Hangover," and for others who have experienced one, the effects of over-consuming alcohol can be unpleasant.

What if there was a magic capsule that would not only prevent a hangover, but also lead to sobriety faster?

Yunfeng Lu, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at UCLA's Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, along with his colleagues, developed a pill to reduce the effects of alcohol.

The researchers gathered together several enzymes that have a destructive effect on alcohol. The enzymes inside the pill effectively process the alcohol the way the liver naturally does, according to the peer-reviewed journal "Nature Nanotechnology."

"Normally we break down alcohol over time," said Santa Monica College chemistry professor Michael Strathearn. "If we supply more of that biochemical that breaks down alcohol, we can do it faster."

The pills were tested on mice that were intoxicated for 30 minutes. Forty-five minutes after taking the pill, their blood alcohol levels were 15.8 percent lower than the mice that had no treatment. A difference that climbed up to 34.7 percent lower after three hours, according to the "Nature Nanotechnology" journal.

Although this cure against hangovers may seem appealing, the primary goal of scientists is to help people with liver ailments.

Even though the pill was created with good intentions, college students may see that as a reason to drink more freely.

"I think if people know that this pill exists, there is a possibility that they might go out and drink more,” said SMC student Michael Amerine.

"If college students could drink more without any adverse conditions, then yes, they would definitely use it," said former SMC student Austin Kim.

While some may have a laid-back attitude toward alcohol consumption, the statistics show how prevalent, and possibly dangerous, binge drinking can be to a person's health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 90 percent of the alcohol consumed by youths under the age of 21 in the United States is in the form of binge drinks.

Binge drinking is associated with many health problems, including both unintentional and intentional injuries, alcohol poisoning, sexually transmitted diseases, and unintended pregnancy, according to the CDC.

The pill has yet to be tested on humans, so until then, it may be wise to follow the advice of alcohol manufacturers and drink responsibly.

Manon GenevierComment