Binge-drinking rats help find new hangover cure

Severe headaches, body aches and vomiting caused by a few too many drinks could be a thing of the past.

Stock image of beer being poured into a glass. Source:

Scientists believe they have developed the ultimate hangover cure - a drug that reduces the harmful effects of binge-drinking on the brain.

Tested on rats experiencing the equivalent of a human binge-drinking bender, it curbed brain cell loss and inflammation and improved their memory.

The new drug, named ethane-beta-sultam, was developed over 10 years by British, Belgian and Italian scientists.

Binge-drinking is defined as consuming five or more alcoholic drinks one after the other over a four to six-hour period.

Rats taking part in the study were given doses of alcohol designed to simulate binge-drinking in a human.

Their memory was tested by seeing how well they could find a hidden platform in a water maze.

"One of things that alcohol does is to destroy some of the brain cells which are important for navigation and orientation. But a combination of alcohol and our compound could overcome this damage," Professor Mike Page, from the University of Huddersfield, said.

He acknowledged that protecting against the harmful effects of binge-drinking on the brain might be controversial, but said if alcohol abuse is certain to continue, then it might be sensible for society to try and treat it.

The research is published in the Journal Of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.