Feeds

Alcohol DOUBLES LIFESPAN, helps resist stress

We're filing this from the pub, naturally

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
OK Google, do I have CANCER?
Company talks up pill that would spot developing tumors
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.