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'Vine that ate the South' helps boozers cut back

How do you like this? Scientist have found a use for this foul, fast-growing plant that you can find all over NC and the rest of the South. Perhaps they can send some of those pills over to East Campus when the students are running wild.

Kudzu, the fast-spreading weed also known as the “vine that ate the South,” contains chemicals that reduce the urge of binge-drinkers and alcoholics, as well as casual imbibers, to ask for that second, third or fourth drink, Harvard Medical Center researchers report in what is being called a groundbreaking study.

Their research suggests that kudzu compounds called isoflavones are keys to treating intoxication. Heavy drinkers who took pills made from chemicals in kudzu seemed to lose their urge to order a second or third drink or, at the least, extended the time between ordering additional drinks.

“We want to develop a medication that would be effective and safe, and pills without side effects like other drugs on the market (for treating alcoholics and binge-drinkers),” said the lead researcher, Dr. Scott E. Lukas, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and director of behavior psychopharmacology at McLean Hospital in nearby Belmont, Mass.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding