Magazine article Newsweek

The Wet Cure

Magazine article Newsweek

The Wet Cure

Article excerpt

Byline: John Ericson

Could hangovers soon be a thing of the past? The answer is yes - if you believe David Nutt, the Edmond J. Safra professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London. Writing for The Guardian, he says five newly discovered compounds made it possible for him to synthesize an alcohol substitute that removes all negative effects associated with drinking, intoxication, and even the dreaded morning after. His substitute, which stimulates a very precise set of neurotransmitters, comes complete with a drunk-no-more antidote that offsets the buzz faster than you can put your glass down. Aside from eliminating throbbing headaches, irritability and light sensitivity, this booze substitute could cut the incidence of alcohol-related injuries and drunk driving accidents.

Nutt's inquiry into the neuroscience of hangovers and cocktails began with a central, indisputable fact: Alcohol is toxic. From both a psychiatric and physiological standpoint, alcohol is a destructive substance that impairs cognitive processes and bodily functions. Had alcohol been discovered, say, last year, officials would have slapped a top-shelf DEA classification on it, as it is commonly considered more harmful to the human body than heroin, crack, or meth.

To diminish the destructive forces in a shot of vodka, scientists must do some sophisticated reverse-engineering, and figure out how alcohol does what it does so well. "We know that the main target for alcohol in the brain is the neurotransmitter system gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) which keeps the brain calm," Nutt wrote. …

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