Thursday, April 26, 2012

Experiment: Hangover Prevention Methods


Hangover Prevention Study
DeBurgh, Katharine E., MPH; Davis, Nathan M.

Introduction
The purpose of this study was to test two recently introduced hangover prevention tools: The NoHo hangover defense drink and the After Burner hangover prevention patch.

Methods
Researchers recruited fifteen individuals to participate. All participants were known to the research team, lived in or near Sacramento, California, and were Caucasian. Six (40%) were female and nine were male. After arriving at the study, participants were assigned a code by Researcher 1. Researcher 1 delivered this code to Researcher 2, who remained behind a partition. Not knowing the identities of the participants, using a 4-sided die, Researcher 2 randomly assigned each participant into one of four groups: NoHo beverage, placebo beverage, After Burner patch, or placebo patch. Researcher 2 then delivered the selected intervention to the participant through an opening in the partition. Both real and placebo beverages were served in an opaque cup to limit participant’s scrutiny; and both real and placebo patches were applied to participants’ skin underneath a layer of duct tape.

The following day, via text message or, when no response was received, via in-person interview, the participants were asked three questions:

·       On a scale of 1 to 10, how drunk were you last night? One is not drunk at all, ten is the most drunk you’ve ever been.
·       Based on that level of drunkenness, on a scale of 1 to 10, how hungover did you expect to be? One is not hungover at all, ten is the most hungover you’ve ever been.
·       On a scale of 1 to 10, how hungover are you in reality? One is not hungover at all, ten is the most hungover you’ve ever been.

Only after all this data had been gathered was Researcher 2 given access to the codes revealing which participant had received which intervention.

Results
Overall, participants reached an average drunkenness level of 6.7.  The average expected hangover level was 4.9; the average hangover level in reality was 3.5. Participants tended to expect a higher level of hangover when they experienced a higher level of drunkenness. The participants did, in general, experience a higher level of hangover with a higher level of drunkenness, but the hangover was generally not as severe as expected.



Table One: Drunkenness, Expected Hangover, and Actual Hangover
Intervention
Drunkenness Level
Expected Hangover
Actual Hangover
After Burn Patch
7.3
6.3
3.7
NoHo Beverage
6.4
4.3
3.8
Placebo
6.7
4.8
3.2
Total
6.7
4.9
3.5


Table 1 (cont’d)
Intervention
Difference Between Drunkenness and Hangover
Difference Between Expectation and Hangover
After Burn Patch
3.7
2.7
NoHo Beverage
2.7
0.6
Placebo
3.5
1.6
Total
3.2
1.4


The average difference between expected hangover and actual hangover was 1.40, indicating that, in general, hangovers were less severe than expected. For those who received the After Burner patch, the difference was 2.67, indicating a high level of effectiveness. The placebos resulted in an average difference between expected and actual hangover of 1.6. The NoHo beverage resulted in an average difference between expected and actual hangover of 0.6.

Discussion
The participants who received the placebos had the lowest level of hangover. However, the After Burn patch resulted in the highest difference between the expected hangover and actual hangover. The NoHo beverage performed worse in all respects than both the patch and the placebos.

There are several problems with the data collected during this study. The sample size was small and non-diverse. Therefore, the results of this study cannot be generalized beyond the sample population. Furthermore, while every attempt was made for a double-blind study, Researcher 2 did recognize two of the participants through unavoidable recognition of physical characteristics. This may have resulted in some bias in the results.

Conclusion
The NoHo hangover defense beverage was found to be less effective than the After Burner patch and less effective than a placebo. While the After Burner patch resulted in a slightly higher level of hangover than the placebos, it resulted in the highest difference between expected and actual hangover. Therefore, the After Burner patch may be an effective hangover prevention method.




Neither Ms. DeBurgh nor Mr. Davis received any financial consideration for this study; nor do they have any financial relationships with the industries being discussed.

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