Rise of the Mutant Drunkards
BOSNIA—Two Bosnian brothers who say they can drink as much as they want without getting drunk now know why: each have a spare set of fully functioning kidneys.
Josip Galic, 69, from Kucetine, Bosnia discovered the source of his drinking prowess after a medical examination following a motor vehicle accident.
“That surprised me, but at least it explained why I could drink all my friends under the table, and never had a hangover.” He was further surprised when his brother later discovered, following a separate examination, that he also had four kidneys. Josip told Bosnian daily newspaper Vecernji List he would never consider selling his spare kidneys, though he would surrender a set to family members or close friends who needed them.
Wisconsin’s Attorney General Earns DUI
MADISON, WI—Wisconsin’s top cop is in the uncomfortable position of apologizing for a drunk-driving citation.
Peg Lautenschlager was arrested last month after driving into a ditch and registering a blood-alcohol level of .12. The legal limit in Wisconsin is .08.
Lautenschlager issued a statement Monday saying she fell asleep, drove off the road and was subsequently cited for drunk driving. She has apologized to employees and says she is embarrassed by the incident.
She will be fined $784 dollars and could forfeit her driver’s license for six months for refusing to take a blood test.
She is not the first high-ranking Wisconsin official to receive a DUI. Hours after declaring Wisconsin to be in a transportation “safety crisis” because of rising traffic fatalities, John Evans, the state’s top transportation safety official was arrested on charges of drunken driving in July 2003. He registered a BAC of .14.
Big Brother Wants To Know Your Drinking Habits
NORCROSS, GA—Drinking on the job may be a thing of the past if employers adopt a new patch that constantly monitors alcohol levels.
Developed by SpectRx, an apparently fascist medical technology company, the alcohol-monitoring skin patch is placed over four tiny holes burned into the employee’s skin with a laser. Small samples of blood are continuously tested and the results are transmitted to a receiver.
If the monitor picks up a whiff of alcohol, the transmission is altered to alert henchmen manning the receivers.
SpectRx has began human clinical studies and if all goes well, the device could be ready for market in three years.
Unsurpisingly, there are those, especially privacy advocates and those who might have to wear the patch, who find the device rather diabolical.
“Anything that is this invasive will cause a lot of push back. Nobody wants to be monitored quite that closely,” said Captain James Shilling, a pilot for a major cargo airline and spokesman for The Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations.
Michael Zimmer, professor at Seton Hall Law School in New Jersey, added, “Employees are going to hate it — they will feel it’s none of your business. If employers think about it carefully, they may find it would be more prudent for them not to pursue this.”
Rats Bred to Drink Alcohol Live Longer Than Those Bred to Avoid It, Study Finds
FINLAND—A team of scientists at Finland’s National Public Health Institute are scratching their heads over their latest findings: Rats bred to drink alcohol live longer, healthier lives than rats bred to refuse alcohol — whether or not the rodents actually consume alcohol during their lifetimes.
The research, published in the January issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, found that 80 percent of rats bred to prefer alcohol-laced water over regular water lived to be two years old, an age that represents longevity in rats.
Only 40 percent of the rats bred to spurn alcohol lived that long, with many succumbing to ailments such as cancer and heart and kidney diseases. That held true even though the researchers forced some alcohol-averse rats to drink and denied alcohol to others that liked it.
“The fascinating point then is whether these dramatic genetic differences in rats have any parallel in humans,” said co-author David Sinclair. “Are there beneficial features related to genes that otherwise promote alcoholism, or detrimental effects from genes that protect from alcoholism?”
The findings may support the theory that genes that promote alcohol consumption may, in some way, perform a function that benefits overall health and longevity.
Drunk Monkeys Run Amok
UGANDA—Beer-emboldened chimpanzees in western Uganda are randomly attacking human’s encroaching on their territory.
After mounting successful raids on illegal brewing operations in forested river valleys and getting drunk on the country beer, the boozy chimps are increasingly attacking and sometimes killing local villagers, especially children, parks officials say.
The report added that when the raiding chimps are chased they get frightened and counterattack — especially if they’ve been drinking.
“When chimps come across the local brew, they drink it, become drunk and in that state any encounter with people means an attack,” says a Uganda Wildlife Authority report.
Wine-Drinking Women More Fertile
COPENHAGEN—Women who drink moderate quantities of wine become pregnant more easily than their teetotal or beer-supping sisters, a Danish medical review reported Thursday.
According to Dagens Medecin a study of 30,000 women showed that those who chose a glass of wine over beer or spirits were most likely to conceive. The least likely to become pregnant were those who drank no alcohol at all.
“We know that wine-drinkers eat more healthily and are of a higher social status than beer drinkers. But ability to become pregnant does not vary according to social class,” Juhl commented. “So we cannot rule out the possibility that wine contains substances that are beneficial to fertility.”
Red Wine Good for Smokers
ATHENS, GREECE — If you smoke, make sure you have a glass of red wine in the other hand.
Researchers in Greece say there were enough beneficial chemicals in two glasses of red wine to suspend the harmful effect that smoking one cigarette has on the functioning of arteries.
That does not prove regular red wine drinking can counteract the harm of chronic smoking, John Lekakis and Christos Papamichael of University Hospital in Athens told the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology.
But the finding does suggest that red wine — long seen as good for the heart — may provide clues in the hunt for new drug candidates capable of reversing smoking’s harmful effects.
Freebasing Alcohol All the Rage
A machine that allows imbibers to inhale vapor of alcohol and pure oxygen is all the rage in England, says inventor Dominic Simler.
He says his Alcohol With Out Liquid (AWOL) machine, will give users an instant high, minus the hangovers and calories.
It gives you a “hit unlike anything you’ve tried before,” says Simler. “The oxygen with the alcohol gives you an unusual sort of buzz — at times euphoric and with a sense of well-being.”
Once inhaled through the nose or mouth, the alcoholic vapor is absorbed into the bloodstream through the lungs. The effect lasts for roughly 25 minutes.
He says his recipe is hangover-free because it’s not passing through the same organs as a drink and the consumer doesn’t need to inhale as much alcohol to feel an effect.
Mr. Simler says he is not sure if the device would allow a user to evade detection on a roadside breathalyser test.
The AWOL machine retails for $3,400.
Bank Robber Bad Tipper, Says Bartender
HANOVER TOWNSHIP, PA—Shortly after robbing a bank, Phillip Lyons was found guzzling beer in a nearby tavern, police say.
The suspect was caught less than a half-hour after the robbery by a policeman who spotted Lyon’s Cadillac, which was seen leaving the scene of the crime, parked in front of Fat Jack’s Bar, roughly a mile from the bank.
Bartender Paul Parenteau said the suspect calmly sat down at the bar and ordered a Coors Light. After finishing most of his pint, Lyons got up and was captured while exiting.
He left a $2 tip Parenteau reported, adding, “If he just robbed the bank, he could have left me a little more than that.”
Asked why he robbed the bank, Lyons said: “It’s better than robbing old ladies.”
Legislator Nabbed by His Own Hypocrisy
SANTA FE—Less than 24 hours after he attended a ceremony at which Gov. Bill Richardson signed into law harsher DWI penalties, New Mexico’s House Minority Whip Joe Thompson was charged with drunken driving.
The governor said he holds the lawmaker in “extremely high regard,” and that without him, DWI bills would not have passed during the recent legislative session.
“He is a DWI champion,” the governor asserted without a hint of irony. “I’m standing behind him because I know he is strongly committed to making DWI laws stronger.”
A member of Thompson’s own party, however, called for Thompson to step down. Rep. Ron Godbey, R-Cedar Crest, said Thompson’s arrest after attending the DWI bills signing “reflects pathetically upon all members of the elected body.”
Thompson blew a BAC of .12.