Scientists Use Biology to Prevent Effects of Alcohol on Body


Consider the party pooped on.

Scientists have discovered a way to reduce the deleterious (or fun) effects of alcohol, at least in tiny worms called nematodes. Using one of their favorite test subjects, the worm C. Elegans, scientists at the University of Texas were able to mutate the cell membranes contained within the worms 1 mm long body. This mutation still allowed for normal function, except that it no longer bound alcohol at a specific site. By blocking the adsorption of booze, the worms no longer displayed signs of intoxication including reduced wriggling and the cessation of egg laying. Yes, cessation. Apparently, unlike in humans, intoxicated nematodes prefer not to procreate.

This is relevant to us because the channel that was mutated in worms exists in humans. The research is still limited in scope, however, as alcohol affects many other targets besides the one tested in the worms. There is our highly evolved brain to take into consideration when each of us imbibes a Bud Light or a Dirtwolf, and many other factors, such as tolerance. The next phase of the study may be to transplant the mutation into mice, another popular species to experiment on, to further study how well or poorly alcohol affects the body.

Scientists continue to monkey around with our favorite molecule, including solidifying it at room temperature, making it unable to give you a hangover, and now just taking all of the fun out out of it together. What will they do next? Will they turn it into a wave and get you drunk from across the room. Stay tuned!