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Have Scientists Created a Cure for Binge Drinking?

A new pill protects the brain, but does not protect your regrettable decision-making.

Scientists still haven’t concocted a wonder pill to cure your searing headache and greasy egg sandwich craving after slugging back a few too many. They may, however, have created one that mitigates the brain damage caused by the debauchery.

It’s not a shock that binge drinking is terrible for you – not just because you may find yourself shoveling down cheese puffs without any pants on. Excessive alcohol causes inflammation in the brain, leading to memory loss and long-term cell damage.

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Thanks to researchers from the University of Huddersfield in England (and a few drunk rats), there’s now a pill that protects the brain from binge drinking. 

"One of the things that alcohol does is to destroy some of the brain cells which are important for navigation and orientation," Mike Page, the study’s co-author told Science Daily. "But a combination of alcohol and our compound could overcome this damage."

That compound is called ethane-beta-sultam; it’s designed to easily enter the blood stream and make its way to the brain. 

From Science Daily:

“[Page] explained that the brain protects itself using 'glial cells', which are increased when exposed to alcohol in a binge-drinking regime. ‘But a combination of our ethane-beta-sultam given at the same time as the alcohol decreased these levels of glial cells.’”

The result is a better-protected brain as you stumble back to bed. But don’t go asking for another few rounds just yet; the pill has only been tested on rats and isn’t ready for public consumption – and likely never will. Researchers are rightly concerned it might encourage binge drinking, which even with a brain-protecting pill still wreaks havoc on the body.

For now, the best cure for binge drinking is not to binge drink. Check out our eight ways to drink like an athlete to see how you can still have a few without hurting your brain – or craving a greasy egg sandwich. 

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