Too old for Hangovers

Sep 13 2013, 20:31 IST
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A recent study claims that older people are less susceptible to hangovers. (Reuters) A recent study claims that older people are less susceptible to hangovers. (Reuters)
SummaryA recent study claims that older people are less susceptible to hangovers.

The tendency to experience hangovers decreases with age, a new study has claimed.

Many people are familiar with the uncomfortable morning-after symptoms of excessive drinking, commonly known as a hangover.

While it is a common phenomenon, little is known about hangover differences across the lifespan. The new study of hangovers across adulthood has found their severity depends on age.

"While it is true that a hangover is mostly referred to in a humorous way, we could also say they are the most frequent alcohol-related morbidity," said Janne S Tolstrup, a research programme director at the University of Southern Denmark and corresponding author for the study.

"It appears as though not everyone is equally susceptible to hangovers, and it is possible that resistance to hangovers plays a role in the development of drinking problems," said Jonathan Howland, a professor of emergency medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine.

"Furthermore, neurocognitive impairment such as attention/reaction time appears to be a residual next-day effect of intoxication in the presence of a hangover, but not in the absence of a hangover. This could have implications for occupational performance and safety," Howland said.

"This paper rectifies that with its very large sample size of 50,000 individuals, including 30,000 older than the age of 40, and makes a major contribution to understanding hangover across the lifespan," said Tolstrup.

Tolstrup and her colleagues used 2007 and 2008 information gathered by the Danish Health Examination Survey (DANHES), an Internet-based health survey that asked participants about their diet, smoking, alcohol and physical activity.

Analysis was performed on data provided by 51,645 individuals (24,118 males, 27,527 women) 18 to 94 years of age living in 13 municipalities in Denmark.

"We found that the tendency to have hangovers decreased by increasing age," said Tolstrup.

The study will be published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

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