Blog: Chris Brook-CarterMeasuring misery

Chris Brook-Carter | 17 September 2003

Scientists have come up with a method to measure the scale of your weekly Sunday morning hangover, just in case you were wondering how much pain constituted a thumping headache or to what extent, in numerical terms, that final pint of beer was causing you to vomit.

The study has been conducted by Associate Professor Wendy Slutske of the University of Missouri in Columbia and was published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, this week.

If women ever needed further proof in their suspicions that God is a man, then Professor Slutske may have provided it. For it seems that women suffer worse from hangovers than men, even after accounting for differences in the amount of alcohol consumed.

Apparently, the method of measurement involves assessing 13 symptoms -from headache and dehydration to trembling or shaking - of discomfort or illness after a bout of heavy drinking.

Amazingly, only one in four students on which the study was carried out reported at least one hangover symptom once a month or more often. Clearly these people were not dealing with the right set of students.

On a more serious note, the study also revealed that hangovers were more likely to affect individuals with a personal history of alcohol problems or with at least one biological parent with alcohol-related problems.

One member of the team, Dr Thomas Piasecki said: "We were also surprised to discover how little research had been conducted [on hangovers], because the research that does exist suggests that hangovers could be an important factor in the development of problem drinking."

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