Compiled By Markson Omagor
It is only too easy for an evening glass of wine to turn into two or three – or more. But help may be at hand for those who realise too late they are tipsier than they would like to be.
Scientists have invented a machine which may help them sober up around three times as fast as they usually do.
Users are encouraged to make themselves hyperventilate by breathing hard and fast into a face mask which supplies them with carbon dioxide from a briefcase-sized tank.
By hyperventilating they are using the lungs to breathe out the alcohol. The harder the breathing, the more alcohol is eliminated.
However, breathing deeper and more rapidly than normal eliminates carbon dioxide from the blood along with the alcohol.
This is the cause of symptoms such as light-headedness and fainting. The machine helps prevent this.
The device, developed to help patients overcome carbon monoxide poisoning or recover from anaesthetics more quickly, was adapted to help those at serious risk of alcohol poisoning.
But inventors say it could easily also be used by drinkers who have had one too many.
It has been tested on five men in a small initial study, who were given around half a large glass of vodka.
The volunteers cleared the alcohol more than three times as fast with the machine, compared with when they did not use it.
However, it currently costs around $20,000 US dollars, the equivalent of about £15,200.
The device was described in the journal Scientific Reports.
Dr Joseph Fisher, of the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, who led the study, said: ‘It’s a very basic, low-tech device that could be made anywhere. It’s almost inexplicable why we didn’t try this decades ago.’
‘Most people have had that feeling of drinking too much and wishing they had not had the last few drinks and were more sober.
‘Obviously we would not recommend drinking too much, but as a rule of thumb this machine halves the amount of alcohol in someone’s system within 45 minutes, instead of the two to three hours it usually takes on average.’