The day with a healthy glass of alcohol is not far from reality. A British neuropsychopharmacologist has developed a drug that can help one enjoy all the pleasures of alcohol, without worrying about the severe side-effects or harms associated with drinking.
Professor David Nutt, who has served as an adviser to the National Health Service, is the main brain behind the invention. He based his innovation on the discovery that alcohol mimics a chemical produced in the brain known as GABA. The drug works by targeting the GABA receptors and preventing some unpleasant side-effects associated with normal drinking, like hangovers and loss of coordination. Interestingly, the innovation also includes an antidote that can help the user eliminate the effects of drinking.
"There's no question that you can produce a whole range of effects like alcohol by manipulating this system in the brain," Professor Nutt, said during the BBC Radio 4's Today Programme. "In some experiments, the effect is indistinguishable from alcohol. What we want to do is get rid of any the unwanted effects of inebriation, like aggression and memory impairment, and we just want to keep the pleasure and the sense of relaxation. We think by clever molecular modelling we can get rid of the risk of addiction as well."
The alcohol substitute is expected to reach the markets within two years, Daily Mail reported.
Regular consumption of alcohol has been known to bring serious effects on health. According to the NHS, UK, excess alcohol intake can increase the risk of cancer in throat, oesophagus or larynx, breast cancer, strokes, heart disease, liver disease, high blood pressure, infertility and decreased sexual performance. Previous research also has shown that excessive alcohol consumption can lead to the onset of dementia early and breast cancer.
Professor Nutt hoped that his findings will help eliminate the health risk posed by alcohol consumption. "I think this would be a serious revolution in health benefits, just as the e-cigarette is going to revolutionise the smoking of tobacco. I find it weird that we haven't been talking about this before because it's such an obvious target for health improvement," he said.