Feeds

Alcohol DOUBLES LIFESPAN, helps resist stress

We're filing this from the pub, naturally

Business security measures using SSL

Pour yourself another one, quickly, as scientists have proven that alcohol can double life-span.

Moderate levels of alcohol delivered an increase in longevity among test subjects in a recent study that Steven Clarke, UCLA professor of chemistry and biochemistry and senior author on a study published yesterday in the journal PLoS One, described as "shocking".

"This finding floored us" he told the UCLA newsletter.

The booze boost was particularly strong for test subjects put under stressful conditions, with the scientists noting that the addition of small amounts of pure alcohol produced significantly more robust looking subjects, compared to a control "teetotal" group.

The test subjects in this case were worms, though the scientists, and indeed the Register editorial team believe the research is highly likely to be applicable to humans.

The C elegans worms tested are often used as a model in experiments into human ageing, and indeed we share half of our genes with the soft-bodied mud-munchers.

The discovery came about accidentally in an experiment that was originally intended to test reactions to cholesterol. Tiny amounts of ethanol were used to dissolve the cholesterol in the liquid surrounding the worms. The scientists were stunned to see that it doubled the lifespan of worm larvae from an average of 10-15 days to 20-30.

Further tests found that it was the alcohol that turned out to give the magic life-boost rather than cholesterol.

Stressed worms benefited particularly strongly from the drink:

What is even more interesting is the fact that the worms are in a stressed developmental stage. At high magnifications under the microscope, it was amazing to see how the worms given a little ethanol looked significantly more robust than worms not given ethanol.

Researcher Shilpi Khare suggested that the benefits could come from the biochemical reactions that the alcohol unleashed:

We show that very low doses of ethanol can be a worm 'lifesaver' under starvation stress conditions," Khare added. "While the mechanism of action is still not clearly understood, our evidence indicates that these 1 millimeter–long roundworms could be utilizing ethanol directly as a precursor for biosynthesis of high-energy metabolic intermediates or indirectly as a signal to extend life span. These findings could potentially aid researchers in determining how human physiology is altered to induce cardio-protective and other beneficial effects in response to low alcohol consumption.

However, even for worms, binge drinking is not encouraged - if the worms are given much higher concentrations of ethanol, they experience harmful neurological effects and die, the scientists note.

The ideal, life-extending brew doesn't sound like the most appetizing cocktail: "The concentrations correspond to a tablespoon of ethanol in a bathtub full of water or the alcohol in one beer diluted into a hundred gallons of water," Clarke said. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.