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Concept: Hangover


Alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine and spirits are widely consumed around the world. However, alcohol and its metabolite acetaldehyde are toxic and harmful to human beings. Chronic alcohol use disorder or occasional binge drinking can cause a wide range of health problems, such as hangover, liver damage and cancer. Some natural products such as traditional herbs, fruits, and vegetables might be potential dietary supplements or medicinal products for the prevention and treatment of the problems caused by excessive alcohol consumption. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of effective natural products for the prevention and treatment of hangover and alcohol use disorder, and special emphasis is paid to the possible functional component(s) and related mechanism(s) of action.

Concepts: Alcohol, Ethanol, Alcoholism, Alcohol abuse, Alcoholic beverage, Beer, Drinking culture, Hangover


Despite the long-standing belief in the analgesic properties of alcohol, experimental studies have produced mixed results. This meta-analysis aimed to clarify whether alcohol produces a decrease in experimentally-induced pain and to determine the magnitude of any such effect. PubMed, PsycINFO and Embase databases were searched from inception until 21/4/2016 for controlled studies examining the effect of quantified dosages of alcohol on pain response to noxious stimulation. Eighteen studies involving 404 participants were identified providing alcohol vs. no-alcohol comparisons for 13 tests of pain threshold (N=212) and 9 tests of pain intensity ratings (N=192). Random effects meta-analysis of standardized mean differences (SMD) provided robust support for analgesic effects of alcohol. A mean blood alcohol content (BAC) of approximately 0.08% (3-4 standard drinks) produced a small elevation of pain threshold (SMD=0.35[0.17, 0.54], p=.002), and a moderate-large reduction in pain intensity ratings, (SMD=0.64[0.37, 0.91], p<.0001), or equivalently, a mean reduction of 1.25 points on a 0-10 point pain rating scale. Furthermore, increasing BAC resulted in increasing analgesia, with each .02% BAC increment producing an increase of SMD=.11 for pain threshold and SMD=.20 for reduced pain intensity. Some evidence of publication bias emerged, but statistical correction methods suggested minimal impact on effect size. Taken together, findings suggest that alcohol is an effective analgesic that delivers clinically-relevant reductions in ratings of pain intensity, which could explain alcohol misuse in those with persistent pain despite its potential consequences for long-term health. Further research is needed to corroborate these findings for clinical pain states.

Concepts: Alcohol, Opioid, Effect size, Analgesic, Meta-analysis, Alcoholic beverage, Blood alcohol content, Hangover


Alcohol hangover is a growing research area, but differences across the life span have not been assessed. Here, we test the hypothesis that the severity of hangovers depends on age.

Concepts: Alcoholism, Differences, Alcohol abuse, Alcoholic beverage, Vodka, Blood alcohol content, Drinking culture, Hangover


This research examines the role of alcohol consumption on self-perceived attractiveness. Study 1, carried out in a barroom (N= 19), showed that the more alcoholic drinks customers consumed, the more attractive they thought they were. In Study 2, 94 non-student participants in a bogus taste-test study were given either an alcoholic beverage (target BAL [blood alcohol level]= 0.10 g/100 ml) or a non-alcoholic beverage, with half of each group believing they had consumed alcohol and half believing they had not (balanced placebo design). After consuming beverages, they delivered a speech and rated how attractive, bright, original, and funny they thought they were. The speeches were videotaped and rated by 22 independent judges. Results showed that participants who thought they had consumed alcohol gave themselves more positive self-evaluations. However, ratings from independent judges showed that this boost in self-evaluation was unrelated to actual performance.

Concepts: Alcohol, Ethanol, Alcoholism, Alcoholic beverage, Beer, Drinking culture, Kefir, Hangover


This review focuses on 27 studies employing experimental alcohol self-administration (ASA) in humans which were published between 1989 and 2010. Twelve studies enrolling healthy, non-dependent social drinkers (HSD) were aimed at evaluating physiological and behavioral determinants of alcohol-induced reward or modeling situations of increased risk to develop alcohol use disorders. The remaining 15 studies tested the effect of medications such as naltrexone, nalmefene, nicotine, mecamylamine, varenicline, gabapentin, aripiprazole, and rimonabant on ASA. The participants were either HSD or non-treatment-seeking alcoholics (NTSA). In 25 of these studies, the subjects ingested alcohol orally and reached a mean peak blood alcohol concentration (BAC) during baseline conditions between 43 and 47 mg% (0.043-0.047%). Two recent studies employed computer-assisted self-infusion of ethanol (CASE), where subjects press a button to request multiple sequential alcohol exposures intravenously instead of drinking. This method has been demonstrated to be safe and provides increased experimental control of BAC and keeps subjects blind concerning the amount already self-administered. Peak exposures in the CASE studies ranged from 60 to 80 mg% in HSD and up to 240 mg% in NTSA.

Concepts: Alcohol, Ethanol, Alcoholism, Alcohol abuse, Alcohol dehydrogenase, Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, Blood alcohol content, Hangover


To quantify the relative contributions of genetic and environmental factors to alcohol hangover.

Concepts: Genetics, Environment, Hangover


To evaluate new research conducted over the past few years (2009-2016) assessing the effectiveness of potentially curative and/or preventive methods of alcohol hangover.

Concepts: Hangover


In last few years it has been a significant increase in the consumption of alcohol combined with energy drink. The aim of this work was to study the effect of this mixture in motor and affective behaviors during an alcohol hangover episode. Male Swiss mice received one of the following treatments: saline + sucrose; saline + energy drink; ethanol + sucrose; ethanol + energy drink. Ethanol dose was 3.8 g/kg BW (i.p.) and energy drink dose was 18 ml/kg BW (gavage) at ZT1 (8 am) (ZT: Zeitgeber time; ZT0: 7 am; lights on). The behavioral tests used were tight rope test to determine motor coordination; hanging wire test to study muscular strength; elevated plus maze and open field tests to evaluate anxiety like-behavior and locomotor activity. Tests were carried out at basal point that matched with lights onset and every 6 hours up to 18 hours after treatments. Hangover onset was established at ZT7 when blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was almost zero. Our results showed that the mixture of alcohol and energy drink altered significantly motor skills. Specifically, a significant decrease was observed in the performance of the animals in the tightrope and hanging wire tests in groups treated with the mixture of alcohol and energy drink. A significant impairment in the anxiety-like behavior was observed mainly at the beginning of alcohol hangover. These findings suggest that energy drink added to alcohol extends motor disabilities observed during an alcohol hangover episode in comparison with animals that received alcohol alone.

Concepts: Psychology, Alcohol, Metabolism, Ethanol, Motor control, Alcoholic beverage, Blood alcohol content, Hangover


Previous research demonstrated that urinary ethanol concentrations were significantly lower in hangover resistant individuals compared to drinkers who reported having a hangover. This finding suggests that the rate of ethanol metabolism is faster in drinkers who do not experience an alcohol hangover. This study aimed to directly compare alcohol metabolism after administering a low dose of ethanol to hangover sensitive drinkers and hangover resistant drinkers.

Concepts: Alcohol, Carbon dioxide, Ethanol, Yeast, Alcoholic beverage, Vodka, Blood alcohol content, Hangover


If socio-economic disadvantage is associated with more adolescent smoking, but less participation in tertiary education, and smoking and tertiary education are both associated with heavier drinking, these may represent opposing pathways to heavy drinking. This paper examines contextual variation in the magnitude and direction of these associations.

Concepts: Alcoholism, Tobacco smoking, Addiction, Higher education, Alcoholic beverage, Drinking culture, Tertiary education, Hangover