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Health

Hangovers -Your Body Trying to Protect Itself From Alcohol Toxicity

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by Daryl Davies, Joshua Silva and Terry David Church for The Conversation

Debaucherous evening last night? You’re probably dealing with veisalgia right now.

More commonly known as a hangover, this unpleasant phenomenon has been dogging humanity since our ancestors first happened upon fermentation.

Those nasty vertigo-inducing, cold sweat-promoting and vomit-producing sensations after a raucous night out are all part of your body’s attempt to protect itself from injury after you overindulge in alcoholic beverages. Your liver is working to break down the alcohol you consumed so your kidneys can clear it out ASAP. But in the process, your body’s inflammatory and metabolic reactions are going to lay you low with a hangover.

As long as people have suffered from hangovers, they’ve searched in vain for a cure. Revelers have access to a variety of compounds, products and devices that purport to ease the pain. But there’s a lot of purporting and not a lot of proof. Most have not been backed up well by science in terms of usefulness for hangover treatment, and often their effects don’t seem like they’d match up with what scientists know about the biology of the hangover.

Drain enough cups of booze in one session and you know what’s bound to follow. Laura buron/Unsplash, CC BY-ND

Working overtime to clear out the booze

Hangovers are virtually guaranteed when you drink too much. That amount varies from person to person based on genetic factors as well as whether there are other compounds that formed along with ethanol in the fermentation process.

Over the course of a night of heavy drinking, your blood alcohol level continues to rise. Your body labors to break down the alcohol – consumed as ethanol in beer, wine or spirits – forming damaging oxygen free radicals and acetaldehyde, itself a harmful compound. The longer ethanol and acetaldehyde stick around, the more damage they can do to your cellular membranes, proteins and DNA, so your body’s enzymes work quickly to metabolize acetaldehyde to a less toxic compound, acetate.

Over time, your ethanol levels drop through this natural metabolic process. Depending on how much you consumed, you’re likely to experience a hangover as the level of ethanol in your blood slowly returns to zero. Your body is withdrawing from high levels of circulating alcohol, while at the same time trying to protect itself from the effects of alcohol.

Scientists have limited knowledge of the leading causes of the hangover. But they do know that the body’s responses include changes in hormone levels to reduce dehydration and cellular stress. Alcohol consumption also affects a variety of neurotransmitter systems in the brain, including glutamate, dopamine and serotonin. Inflammation increases in the body’s tissues, and the healthy gut bacteria in your digestive system take a hit too, promoting leaky gut.

Altogether, the combination of all these reactions and protective mechanisms activated by your system gives rise to the experience of a hangover, which can last up to 48 hours.

Your misery likely has company

Drinking and socializing are cultural acts, and most hangovers do not happen in isolation. Human beings are social creatures, and there’s a high likelihood that at least one other individual feels the same as you the morning after the night before.

Each society has different rules regarding alcohol use, which can affect how people view alcohol consumption within those cultures. Drinking is often valued for its relaxing effect and for promoting sociability. So it’s common to see alcohol provided at celebratory events, social gatherings and holiday parties.

For many people, ‘partying’ is synonymous with ‘drinking.’ Lidya Nada/Unsplash, CC BY-ND

In the United States, drinking alcohol is largely embraced by mainstream culture, which may even promote behaviors involving excessive drinking. It should be no surprise that overindulgence goes hand in hand with these celebratory social events – and leads to hangover regrets a few hours later.

Your body’s reactions to high alcohol intake and the sobering-up period can influence mood, too. The combination of fatigue that you experience from sleep deprivation and hormonal stress reactions, in turn, affect your neurobiological responses and behavior. As your body is attempting to repair itself, you’re more likely to be easily irritated, exhausted and want nothing more than to be left alone. Of course, your work productivity takes a dramatic hit the day after an evening of heavy drinking.

When all is said and done, you’re the cause of your own hangover pain, and you’re the one who must pay for all the fun of the night before. But in short order, you’ll forget how excruciating your last hangover was. And you may very soon talk yourself into doing the things you swore you’d never do again.

Speeding up recovery

While pharmacologists like us understand a bit about how hangovers work, we still lack a true remedy.

Countless articles describe a variety of foods, caffeine, ion replenishment, energy drinksherbal supplements including thyme and ginger, vitamins and the “hair of the dog” as ways to prevent and treat hangovers. But the evidence isn’t really there that any of these work effectively. They’re just not scientifically validated or well reproduced.

For example, Kudzu root (Pueraria lobata), a popular choice for hangover remedies, has primarily been investigated for its effects in reducing alcohol-mediated stress and hangover. But at the same time, Kudzu root appears to inhibit the enzymes that break down acetaldehyde – not good news since you want to clear that acetaldehyde from your system quickly.

To fill this knowledge gap, our lab is working with colleagues to see if we can find scientific evidence for or against potential hangover remedies. We’ve focused on the benefits of dihydromyricetin, a Chinese herbal medicine that is currently available and formulated as a dietary supplement for hangover reduction or prevention.

Dihydromyricetin appears to work its magic by enhancing alcohol metabolism and reducing its toxic byproduct, acetaldehyde. From our findings in mice models, we are collecting data that support the usefulness of dihydromyricetin in increasing the expression and activity of enzymes responsible for ethanol and acetaldehyde metabolism in the liver, where ethanol is primarily broken down. These findings explain one of the several ways dihydromyricetin protects the body against alcohol stress and hangover symptoms.

We are also studying how this enhancement of alcohol metabolism results in changes in alcohol drinking behaviors. Previously, dihydromyricetin was found to counteract the relaxation affect of drinking alcohol by interfering with particular neuroreceptors in the brain; rodents didn’t become as intoxicated and consequently reduced their ethanol intake. Through this combination of mechanisms, we hope to illustrate how DHM might reduce the downsides of excessive drinking beyond the temporary hangover, and potentially reduce drinking behavior and damage associated with heavy alcohol consumption.

Of course, limiting alcohol intake and substituting water for many of those drinks during an evening out is probably the best method to avoid a painful hangover. However, for those times when one alcoholic beverage leads to more than a few more, be sure to stay hydrated and catch up on rest. Your best bet for a smoother recovery is probably some combination of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen, Netflix and a little downtime.

Daryl Davies is a Professor of Clinical Pharmacy, University of Southern California. Joshua Silva Ph.D. is a Candidate in Clinical and Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Southern California. Terry David Church is Assistant Professor of Regulatory and Quality Sciences at the University of Southern California.

The Conversation publishes knowledge-based journalism that is responsible, ethical and supported by evidence from academics and researchers in order to inform public debate with facts, clarity and insight into society’s biggest problems.

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Health

More Than 100 Virus Cases To-Date in WeHo & Adjacent Areas; Youth Dies

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LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has confirmed three new deaths and 128 new cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). One individual was a youth under the age of 18, and two other individuals were between 50-70 years old.

There have now been over 100 reported cases in West Hollywood and adjacent areas. Today, West Hollywood added 8 cases to rise to a total of 31. Surrounding areas have risen to the following: Hollywood 19, Hollywood Hills 9, Beverly Hills 12, Melrose 26, Park La Brea 8.

Of the deaths, one of the individuals between 50-70 years old had underlying health conditions and resided in West Adams, the other is from a location that is still under investigation. The individual under the age of 18 resided in Lancaster. Because there are positive cases across the entire County, the public should not think one location is safer than the other. Additional information regarding some of the new cases is pending further investigation. Over the last 48 hours there have been 256 new cases.

To date, Public Health has identified 662 cases across all areas of LA County, including 11 deaths. This includes one new death reported by Long Beach yesterday.  Upon completion of investigations, two cases reported earlier were not LA County residents. As of today, 119 positive cases have been hospitalized.

Public Health is investigating all new cases and will notify close contacts who are household members, intimate partners and healthcare professionals to assess and monitor them for signs and symptoms of illness. All confirmed cases are being isolated and close contacts are quarantined.  It is critically important that everyone adheres to all the social distancing measures and practice good public health hygiene, including washing hands as frequently as possible.

“Each loss we experience in LA County is tragic, and we are sending our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones who’ve had to endure this tragedy,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Los Angeles County Public Health Director. “COVID-19 does not discriminate by age, race or income level, and what we are seeing in places like New York is indicative of what we should prepare to experience here. While Public Health is doing everything possible to mitigate the impact of this disease in our community, we can only flatten the curve if EVERYONE takes social distancing seriously and adheres to all isolation and quarantine orders issued by our Health Officer.”

On March, 21 Public Health issued an enhanced Health Officer Order to reconcile elements in the March 19 Health Officer Order necessary to be consistent with the Governor’s Order.  The enhanced Order prohibits all gatherings and events, and clarifies that golf courses and personal grooming services (including hair and nail salons) are non-essential services that should remain closed.  The Order can be found online: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/

Public Health has issued the following guidance during this time of increased spread:

  • If you are mildly sick, stay home for at least seven days or until 72 hours after being fever free, whichever is longer. Call your doctor if you are concerned and/or your symptoms worsen. Individuals who are elderly, have underlying health conditions or pregnant should consider contacting their providers earlier when they are sick.

Public Health reminds LA County residents to do their part and adhere to the Order by always practicing social distancing.

Additional things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your community are on the Public Health website.

Please see the locations were cases have occurred:

Total Cases
Laboratory Confirmed Cases662
— Los Angeles County (excl. LB and Pas)635
— Long Beach21
— Pasadena6
Age Group (Los Angeles County Cases Only-excl LB and Pas) 
–  0 to 1710
–  18 to 40268
–  41 to 65250
–  over 65107
Hospitalization and Death 
–  Hospitalized (Ever)119
–  Deaths11
CITY / COMMUNITY** 
Agoura Hills3
Alhambra5
Altadena5
Arcadia4
Athens1
Baldwin Hills3
Bellflower3
Beverly Hills12
Beverlywood7
Boyle Heights5
Brentwood31
Burbank2
Calabasas4
Canoga Park2
Canyon Country1
Carson8
Castaic2
Century City6
Century Palms/Cove1
Cerritos2
Claremont1
Cloverdale/Cochran2
Compton1
Covina3
Crestview7
Culver City7
Del Rey3
Diamond Bar2
Downey1
Downtown3
Duarte1
Eagle Rock2
East Hollywood1
East Los Angeles3
Echo Park2
El Segundo2
Encino12
Exposition Park1
Florence1
Gardena1
Glendale10
Glendora1
Granada Hills5
Hancock Park7
Harbor Gateway1
Harvard Heights1
Hawthorne6
Highland Park1
Hollywood19
Hollywood Hills8
Hyde Park1
Inglewood5
Koreatown5
La Canada Flintridge2
La Mirada3
La Puente1
La Verne2
Lake Balboa2
Lakewood3
Lancaster8
Lawndale2
Lincoln Heights1
Lomita9
Los Feliz2
Lynwood2
Manhattan Beach11
Mar Vista6
Melrose26
Miracle Mile7
Monterey Park3
Mt. Washington1
North Hollywood10
Northridge2
Norwalk1
Pacific Palisades9
Palmdale2
Palms6
Paramount2
Park La Brea8
Pico1
Pico Rivera1
Playa Vista4
Porter Ranch1
Rancho Palos Verdes3
Redondo Beach7
Reseda4
San Dimas1
San Fernando2
San Gabriel1
San Pedro2
Santa Clarita7
Santa Monica16
Santa Monica Mountains2
Sherman Oaks10
Silverlake5
South El Monte1
South Gate1
South Park1
South Pasadena3
South Whittier2
Stevenson Ranch2
Studio City7
Sun Valley2
Sunland1
Sylmar1
Tarzana9
Temple1
Torrance5
Tujunga1
University Park1
Valley Glen9
Van Nuys4
Venice8
Vermont Knolls1
Vermont Vista3
Vernon Central1
Walnut1
West Adams3
West Covina1
West Hills4
West Hollywood31
West Los Angeles4
West Vernon4
Westchester3
Westlake1
Westwood6
Whittier3
Wholesale District1
Willowbrook1
Wilmington4
Wilshire Center1
Winnetka2
Woodland Hills8
–  Under Investigation62

  *These numbers are subject to change based on further investigation; two previously reported cases were not in  Public Health’s jurisdiction.

 **Locations that were less <25000 have been added to the nearest city or community.

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Health

NYC Health Dept.’s Sex Tips Amid Coronavirus, No Orgies

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NYC Health Dept.'s Sex Tips Amid Coronavirus, No Orgies

NEW YORK (TMZ) — The Big Apple doesn’t want its residents banging like rabbits during the coronavirus outbreak — so it’s got a set of strict (and graphically specific) guidelines on how to get it on during these contagious times.

The NYC Health Department posted recommendations over the weekend on how folks can have sex, while keeping the risk of catching COVID-19 low. For starters, they say sex with another person probably isn’t a good idea right now … so, they suggest masturbating.

Read the Document

If you are going to have sex with someone else, they have recommendations on who to bang first. The department says if you must, sleep with someone you live with, and try NOT to screw anyone outside the household if you can help. They also say limit the number of partners you’re hooking up with … which probably means no orgies either. Aw, man!

The most graphic suggestions come in the form of rim jobs (anus to mouth contact) and oral sex too. They say don’t eat ass right now — it probably ain’t safe — and if you’re gonna get slurped up by a partner … use a condom or a dental dam to reduce saliva swapping.

The Health Dept. also notes … if your partner’s not feeling well, skip the sex. And, for all the online daters, keep the interaction there for now too. What a time to be alive!

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)

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Health

71 New Virus Cases in County and 10 in WeHo Area; 1 New Death

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LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has confirmed one new death and 71 new cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). The individual who died was older than 65 with underlying health conditions and resided in Culver City. Over the last 48 hours there have been 132 new cases. 

West Hollywood added 1 new case. 3 new cases were reported in the Hollywood Hills, 1 new case in Beverly Hills and 5 new in the Melrose area.

Because there are positive cases across the entire County, the public should not think one location is safer than the other. Additional information regarding some of the new cases are pending completion of investigations.

To date, Public Health has identified 409 cases across all areas in LA County including five deaths. Upon completion of investigations, 12 cases reported earlier were not LA County residents. As of today, 84 positive cases have been hospitalized. 

Public Health is investigating all new cases and will notify close contacts who are household members, intimate partners and healthcare professionals to assess and monitor them for signs and symptoms of illness. All confirmed cases are being isolated and close contacts are quarantined. It is critically important that everyone adheres to all the social distancing measures and practice good public health hygiene, including washing hands as frequently as possible. 

“We are deeply sorry for the passing of loved ones and send our prayers to the families and friends of those who have died from COVID-19,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Los Angeles County Public Health Director. “It is critical that everyone practices social distancing, obey the Safer at Home Health Officer Order and assume that anyone can have COVID-19, and anyone could unintentionally infect others. Please know that the actions you take today to stay 6 feet away from others and limit all non-essential activities outside your home are the best way for us to slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.” 

On March, 21 Public Health issued an enhanced Health Officer Order to reconcile elements in the March 19 Health Officer Order necessary to be consistent with the Governor’s Order. The enhanced Order prohibits all gatherings and events, and clarifies that golf courses and personal grooming services (including hair and nail salons) are non-essential services that are closed. The Order can be found online: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/Coronavirus/

Public Health has issued the following guidance during this time of increased spread: 

  • If you are mildly sick, stay home for at least seven days or until 72 hours after being fever free, whichever is longer. Call your doctor if you are concerned and/or your symptoms worsen. Individuals who are elderly, have underlying health conditions or pregnant should consider contacting their providers earlier when they are sick.

Public Health reminds LA County residents to do their part by adhering to the Order by always practicing social distancing. 

Additional things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your community are on the Public Health website. 

Please see the locations were cases have occurred:

 Total Cases
Laboratory Confirmed Cases 409
— Los Angeles County (excl. LB and Pas)391*
— Long Beach15
— Pasadena3
Age Group (Los Angeles County Cases Only-excl LB and Pas) 
–  0 to 175
–  18 to 40160
–  41 to 65159
–  over 6567
Investigation 
–  Investigated Cases352
Hospitalization and Death (among Investigated Cases) 
–  Hospitalized (Ever)84
–  Deaths5
CITY / COMMUNITY** 
Alhambra3
Altadena3
Arcadia2
Athens1
Baldwin Hills3
Bellflower1
Beverly Hills8
Beverlywood6
Boyle Heights5
Brentwood23
Burbank2
Calabasas2
Canoga Park1
Carson4
Castaic1
Century City4
Century Palms/Cove1
Cerritos2
Covina1
Crestview5
Culver City4
Del Rey2
Diamond Bar2
Downtown1
Eagle Rock1
East Hollywood1
East Los Angeles2
Echo Park1
El Segundo1
Encino10
Gardena1
Glendale6
Glendora1
Granada Hills4
Hancock Park5
Hawthorne2
Hollywood12
Hollywood Hills5
Inglewood3
Koreatown2
La Canada Flintridge1
La Mirada3
La Verne2
Lake Balboa1
Lakewood1
Lancaster4
Lawndale1
Lomita8
Los Feliz1
Lynwood2
Manhattan Beach7
Mar Vista5
Melrose17
Miracle Mile4
Monterey Park3
North Hollywood5
Northridge1
Pacific Palisades7
Palms1
Paramount1
Park La Brea4
Playa Vista2
Rancho Palos Verdes1
Redondo Beach4
Reseda2
San Dimas1
San Fernando1
San Pedro1
Santa Clarita4
Santa Monica7
Santa Monica Mountains2
Sherman Oaks7
Silverlake3
South El Monte1
South Gate1
South Pasadena3
South Whittier1
Stevenson Ranch1
Studio City4
Sun Valley1
Sunland1
Sylmar1
Tarzana8
Temple1
Torrance3
Tujunga1
University Park1
Valley Glen6
Van Nuys2
Venice7
Vermont Knolls1
Vermont Vista1
Vernon Central1
Walnut1
West Adams1
West Covina1
West Hills4
West Hollywood19
West Los Angeles3
West Vernon2
Westchester3
Westlake1
Westwood5
Whittier2
Wilmington1
Winnetka1
Woodland Hills5
–  Under Investigation38

 *These numbers are subject to change based on further investigation; twelve previously reported cases were not in Public Health’s jurisdiction.

 **Locations that were less <25000 have been added to the nearest city or community.

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