Saturday, 26 December 2009

Hangover Effect Hangs On

Hangover from all the drinking and partying? Here’s some advice for you. :-) 

Too much drinking the night before leaves a drinker feeling out of sorts the next day. Despite still feeling tired, he often thinks the worst is over, that he is now quite sober and can carry on as usual, including driving his car.

He should think twice.

A new study has found that it is not enough to just ‘sleep it off’ after a night of drinking.

It says the effects of intoxication last long after the booze is out of the blood, not only leaving a nasty hangover but also slowing reaction times and the ability to concentrate the next morning.

Researchers from Rhode island and Massachusetts found that it did not matter whether the liquor consumed was clear or dark; the level of brain impairment was the same the next morning.

“People will be impaired the morning after - after the alcohol leaves the system.” Dr Damarts Rohsenow of Brown University Centre for Alcohol and Addiction Studies in Providence, Rhode Island, told Reuters Health.

The findings were based on a study looking at the effects of heavy drinking on 95 young adults between the ages of 21 and 33. The subjects spent two nights at the Boston test facility.

On one night, they were given alcohol (either vodka or bourbon mixed in cola) and on the other night, they were given a placebo. The r3esearchers determined their blood alcohol levels, sleep patterns and ability to think quickly and over a long period of time.

To approximate the effects of drinking on an empty stomach, Dr Rohsenow and his colleagues gave test subjects a standardised meal three hours before the test drinks were given until subjects reached a minimum blood alcohol level of 0.09g per cent. (In the United States, 0.08g per cent is considered legally drunk.)

Previous research shows that symptoms of a hangover (headache, nausea and sleepiness) usually lift within a few hours of waking. While this study did not measure how long impairment lasted, Dr Rohsenow said: “It’s likely that the performances effects lift with in a few hours too.”

Vodka and bourbon are on the opposite extremes of the spectrum of alcohol purity: vodka is the most free of impurities while bourbon has the highest level - all other alcohols are somewhere in between.

Previous research had shown that the higher the level of impurities, the lousier a drinker is likely to feel the next day, but this study showed that impairment was the same.

“Bourbon versus vodka did not make a difference; the biggest thing was the alcohol itself,” Dr Rohsenow

Subjects given alcohol the night before “thought their ability to drive a car was as good as or better” than those who were administered the placebo, Dr Rohsenow said.

It might be a good rule of the thumb to wait until they do not feel so lousy the next morning before doing any activities that might involve operating dangerous equipment, he added.

The researchers chose to study young adults because there were more heavy drinkers among this age group. As a result, , the findings can be applied only to people between the ages of 21 and 33.

“Older adults could be affected differently for physiological reasons and experience reason,” Dr Rohsenow cautioned.

- Reuters 

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