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Drink Coffee To Prevent Hangover Headaches

January 15, 2011

It might be a little late for helping with those post-New Year’s party hangovers, but a story posted by Dan Holmes this week uses rats to explain how to use coffee – or caffeine – to cure those day-after headaches.

A study with rats suffering from ethanol induced headaches showed that, with hangover headaches, timing is everything. The unfortunate rats were given the minimum dose of ethanol to cause a headache, but a dose too small to cause intoxication, thus giving the rats the bad side effect without the fun. But thanks to their suffering, we know that it is the acetate in the alcohol that causes the headache. They also revealed that it took from four to six hours for the headache to develop. The researchers concluded that, if caffeine is administered at this point, four hours after drinking alcohol, the headache can be prevented.

The researchers explained that the caffeine and the anti-inflammatory drugs given to eliminate alcohol-induced headaches work by blocking the effects of the acetate, which begins to spike after four hours.

This is good news for partiers, provided they can keep track of the time and fix some coffee four hours following inebriation. The bad news is, at this point the partier is probably enjoying a deep sleep. The next time you go to a party and drink alcoholic drinks, remember to set an alarm for four or five hours past your anticipated party end and have coffee already prepared.

Oh, in case you’re wondering how the researchers determined if the rats were feeling a headache, they did it by touching the skin around the rats’ eyes. If a rat showed sensitivity to this touch, it was assumed he had a headache.

So, when you party hard and enjoy a pain-free aftermath due to the well-timed drinking of coffee, remember to thank the lowly lab rat, along with your coffee provider.



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