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Binge Drinking

New study suggests kudzu helps curb binge drinking

Imagine, getting to drink free beer and watch TV -- all in the name of science. Doctor Scott Lukas says he didn't have any trouble finding volunteers for his research project on a Chinese herb and alcohol. He set up a makeshift apartment in a lab at McLean Hospital in a Boston suburb. He outfitted his research pad with a TV, recliner and refrigerator stocked with beer. Lukas recruited 14 men and women in their 20s, all heavy drinkers. They drank brewskis and watched the tube while researchers monitored their alcohol consumption. Lukas says those who also took the herb "kudzu" drank nearly half as much as those who didn't. Lukas says the research could be useful in curbing binge drinking. He speculates that kudzu increases blood alcohol levels and speeds up its effects, so the subjects needed fewer beers to feel drunk. The study is published in this month's issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

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