Science Simplified 4/12/23

By Reagan Oliver, Staff Writer

When you’ve taken too many shots, consider this one to sober you up. 

Currently, the only known way to lessen intoxication is to wait it out; however, a new study shows that injecting mice with a naturally-occurring hormone helped sober them up more quickly. 

Mihwa Choi and her team of researchers recently completed a study on the effects of a hormone shot on drunk mice. Mice in this study were given enough alcohol to sufficiently raise their blood alcohol content level. Once the mice were drunk, researchers injected them with FGF21, a hormone that is naturally made by the liver. 

The mice injected with this hormone sobered up twice as fast as those that did not receive the hormone shot. FGF21 has this effect because it activates the noradrenergic nervous system. 

Scientists hope this shot will help treat alcohol poisoning in humans once it advances to human trials and that it will help wake people up from alcohol in the same way. Narcan is a similar tool that is currently used to help people wake up from opioid overdoses. 

This isn’t the first time that a drug has helped mice sober up quickly, but it is the first to show promising potential in its application to humans. This hormone also shows more solutions forw a person who has too much to drink. 

Researchers are also looking into how FGF21 could address liver disease and alcohol addiction. While we wait for human trials to begin, Lorenzo Leggio, a physician-scientist with the National Institutes of Health, said that this study adds “an important piece to the puzzle” of understanding the full potential of FGF21.