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A cure for the hangover is near, scientist says

cans of heady topper.jpg

Sept. 4, 2013: Cans of Heady Topper roll off the line at the Alchemist Cannery in Waterbury, Vt. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

Good news! But we’ll say it quietly for anyone recovering from a bender.

A scientist exploring the effects of alcohol on the brain said booze without the hangover is closer than you think. He's busy devising a substitute beverage that can eliminate the toxic health effect of all those martinis and Mai Tais on the liver, heart and brain.

Writing in The Guardian, David Nutt -- a professor of neuropsychopharmacology and director of the Neuropsychopharmacology Unit at Imperial College in London -- said he had identified five compounds that are effective alcohol surrogates that mimic the effects of booze on the brain.

'Within minutes of taking the antidote I was up giving a lecture with no impairment whatsoever.'

- David Nutt, a neuropsychopharmacology professor at London's Imperial College

To test them out, Nutt said he had a few drinks -- you know, for science.

“After exploring one possible compound I was quite relaxed and sleepily inebriated for an hour or so, then within minutes of taking the antidote I was up giving a lecture with no impairment whatsoever,” he wrote.

Alcohol works its wonders and horrors by targeting the neurotransmitter gamma aminobutyric acid (Gaba), which keeps the brain calm. Nutt, a former chair of a U.K. advisory committee on the misuse of drugs, said other compounds could easily target the same neurosystem without the harmful aftereffects.

“In theory we can make an alcohol surrogate that makes people feel relaxed and sociable and remove the unwanted effects, such as aggression and addictiveness,” he said.

Nutt said he envisioned the new drink in cocktail format in a range of tastes. He said he is seeking funding for testing and marketing the product.

We assume he will have no challenge finding test subjects.