Posts Tagged alcohol

Drunk Flies Avoid Parasites, How About Drunk Humans?

Wasp sting, with a droplet of venom

Image via Wikipedia

In an interesting twist on self-medication with alcohol, there’s a nice mini-series over at Scientific American on the possible benefits of alcohol.

Specifically, there’s a wasp that lays its eggs in fruit fly larva.  If the flies drink, they are less likely to become hosts.  So those alcoholic fruit flies you see zig zagging around just have waspophobia.  (Yes, the technical term is Spheksophobia, but not many people know the Greek word for wasp.  Geek down, people.)

So do humans self-medicate for parasites?  It’s an interesting angle, but we lack a giant human-infecting parasite wasp predator (NOT a movie worth making).  We do have things like h. pylori, which causes stomach ulcers.  And alcohol seems to help.

Before you forego your in-the-arm shots for on-the-bar shots, too much alcohol is bad for you (gasp!).  It also doesn’t kill things inside you as fast as you’d like.  But it isn’t entirely useless, either.

What is missing from the mini-series is when people do smart things like drink alcohol and then take probiotics like yogurt or sauerkraut.  That would give you some half-decent results.

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Researchers Find Party Gene!

Alcoholism strongly linked to specific gene mutations – latimes.com.

In finding appropriately named “cannabinoid receptor 1” alcohol gene researchers have generated a flurry of excitement.  Football dads are demanding a fast track to gene therapy, especially for their children cursed with geek genes.

In comparison, last year they found the “tea totaller” gene and- no one cared.

Researchers are currently hard at work discovering the researcher gene, the gene that makes them try to assign everything a gene.  “We’ll get there,” says high muckety-muck Ivy League guy.  “Unless, of course, we figure out how to splice ourselves party genes instead.”

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