Hangover Remedy Examined: Yak-A-Mein Soup, A.k.a., ‘Old Sober’

One of the Crescent City’s time-honored traditions — a steaming bowl of Yak-a-mein Soup, a.k.a., “Old Sober” — after a night of partying in the French Quarter actually does have a basis in scientific fact. That was the word today from an overview of the chemistry of hangovers, presented as part of the 245th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society.

Alyson E. Mitchell, Ph.D., said foods like Yak-a-mein — also spelled Yakmein, Yaka-mein and Yak-a-Men — have salts, protein and other ingredients that help people recover from the effects of imprudent consumption of alcohol. Although recipes vary, Yak-a-mein typically is made with a salty beef-and-soy-sauce-based broth; a carbohydrate source like noodles; protein from beef, chicken or shrimp; onions or chopped scallions; and sliced hard-boiled egg. Vendors often sell the soup from sidewalk carts during New Orleans festivals, and some restaurants have their own signature recipes.

“Folklore has it that American soldiers from New Orleans stationed in Korea in the 1950s learned to appreciate Yak-a-mein on the morning after, and brought a taste for it back home,” said Mitchell. She is with the University of California at Davis. “It may be a good example of intuitive science — an effective remedy, and with the scientific basis revealed only years later.”

Full story of soup hangover remedy at Science Daily

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

Your thoughts: Treating PTSD with Ecstasy (DISCUSSION)

070328-F-9891G-002CNN recently published a three-day series on the experimental use of the drug Ecstasy as part of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder. Readers had a lot to say in response to scientists who are studying the effects of MDMA, the chemical name for pure Ecstasy, on patients with PTSD.

Many readers said they were familiar with past research that’s been done on these drugs and questioned why they are still illegal.

Thom Burke
"I think the judicious use of many psychedelics can be very helpful in a lot of these cases. Sad how their use got derailed in the ’60s because of culture wars.”

Pagan Champ
“100% agree Thom. The real problem is that politics and policy stand in the way of advancing science and medicine for chemicals that we’ve had at our disposal for nearly 100 years now.”

Bret Sammons
"Wow. Bills Hicks’ quote from ‘Sane Man’ (1989) is coming true. ‘Wouldn’t you like to see a positive LSD story on the news? To base your decision on information rather than scare tactics and superstition? Perhaps? Wouldn’t that be interesting? Just for once?’ ”

Full discussion of treating PTSD with Ecstasy at CNN Health

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Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

Drug Combination May Help Treat Cocaine Addiction, Study Suggests

Combination of Drugs Can Treat Cocaine AddictionA new study suggests combining the anti-seizure drug topiramate with amphetamines may help treat cocaine addiction. The Los Angeles Times reports topiramate has shown promise in treating nicotine and alcohol dependence, while amphetamines are used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Both classes of drugs have been tested independently as a treatment for cocaine addiction. Topiramate is slow to take effect, while amphetamines have not shown promise by themselves as a treatment for cocaine dependence.

No single drug has been proven effective in treating cocaine addiction, the article notes.

In the new study, 39 people with cocaine dependence were given the drug combination for 120 days, while 42 received a placebo. Those who received the drug combination were about twice as likely to be abstinent from cocaine use for three consecutive weeks (33 percent vs. 16.7 percent). Participants in both groups received psychotherapy designed to keep them on their medication, while avoiding street drugs.

Full story of cocaine treatment at DrugFree.org

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Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

Meth Vaccine Shows Promising Results in Early Tests; Blocking a Meth High Could Help Addicts Committed to Recovery

Meth Vaccine Blocks Meth HighScientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have performed successful tests of an experimental methamphetamine vaccine on rats. Vaccinated animals that received the drug were largely protected from typical signs of meth intoxication. If the vaccine proves effective in humans too, it could become the first specific treatment for meth addiction, which is estimated to affect 25 million people worldwide.

"This is an early-stage study, but its results are comparable to those for other drug vaccines that have then gone to clinical trials," said Michael A. Taffe, an associate professor in TSRI’s addiction science group, known as the Committee on the Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders. Taffe is the senior author of the study, which is currently in press with the journal Biological Psychiatry.

A Common and Dangerous Drug of Abuse

Over the past two decades, methamphetamine has become one of the most common drugs of abuse around the world. In the United States alone there are said to be more than 400,000 current users, and in some states, including California, meth accounts for more primary drug abuse treatment admissions than any other drug. Meth has characteristics that make it more addictive than other common drugs of abuse, and partly for this reason, there are no approved treatments for meth addiction.

Full story of meth vaccine at Science Daily

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Two Medications Good First Option for Treating Alcoholism, Study Finds

Two Medications for Treating AlcoholismAn analysis of studies that evaluated two medications used to treat alcoholism concludes they are a good first option for people who want treatment but wish to avoid an inpatient program.

The analysis looked at acamprosate (Campral) and naltrexone (ReVia),Reuters reports. The medications may be helpful for people in different stages of recovery, because they have different effects on the brain, the researchers report in the journal Addiction.

The researchers looked at 64 trials of the two drugs, which included a total of 11,000 people. They found acamprosate was better at helping people who were not current drinkers stay sober, while naltrexone was more effective in helping people cut back on heavy drinking and avoid cravings.

Both drugs were more effective when used after participants had not been drinking for at least a few days before starting treatment, or had been through a detox program, the article noted.

Full story of medications for alcoholism at DrugFree.org

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