Drinking vodka for research: university of cologne seeks participants

How long does it take to break down alcohol? What influence do weight and drinking speed have? This is what the university hospital in cologne wants to study – with vodka.

Cologne – sitting in a pub with friends in the evening, drinking kolsch and then driving home in the car – accidents have happened time and again. Because alcohol and driving are known to be a dangerous combination. But how long should you wait until you can drive again and the alcohol has worn off?? The uniklinik cologne wants to get to the bottom of this question in a study. The scientists are now looking for test subjects who drink a glass of vodka. The findings of the study could play a significant role for courts, among others.

Cologne: uniklinik seeks participants who drink vodka for study – this is to be investigated

"as early as 1932, the swedish chemist widmark found out that the initial blood concentration of alcohol can be calculated quite accurately from the amount of alcohol drunk and the body weight," says the cologne university clinic. He found that concentration decreases by 0.1 to 0.2 per mille per hour. "however, whether it takes 3 or 6 hours to get to 0 per mille sometimes makes a big difference – even in court, where the studies from 1932 are still used today," the uniklinik continues.

If, for example, a blood sample is taken after an accident, then the alcohol concentration at the time of the accident has to be calculated backwards. This could then determine culpability. With the new clinical study "COVETH", the degradation of alcohol in the blood is now to be investigated on the basis of healthy study participants. The aim is to record the course of alcohol concentration in individuals over time more accurately than in the studies conducted 90 years ago. The study is being conducted by the Center for Pharmacology, the Institute of Forensic Medicine at the University Hospital of Cologne and the medical faculty. But how exactly does the study work?? And which study participants are being sought?

Cologne: university clinic seeks participants who drink vodka – here’s how the study works

"in the study, healthy volunteers will be given a large glass of vodka to drink either all at once or spread out over the course of an hour. The body weight determines the individual amount with which an initial alcohol concentration of 0.5 to 1 per mille is to be reached," according to the Cologne university clinic. The university hospital’s scientists will then repeatedly take blood samples from the study participants via an indwelling vein catheter until the alcohol level falls below 0.05 per mille, the university hospital says. Approximately 250 people can be included in the study; in particular, people over the age of 65 and people of East Asian origin are also being sought.

These study participants are being sought:

  • About 250 healthy volunteers
  • Especially people over 65 and people of East Asian origin

Those who participate in the study will be adequately compensated, the uniklinik continues. In addition, the test persons can find out their individual rate of degradation of alcohol. In the future, the study participants will be able to better estimate how long it takes for a glass of wine, a bottle of kolsch or, for example, a glass of whiskey to wear off.

study in cologne: these factors influence the breakdown of alcohol

  • Body weight
  • intake of food
  • Genetics

So far, it is clear that various factors – such as body weight – affect the concentration of alcohol in the body. If you have a meal in addition to a beer or a glass of wine, the absorption of alcohol is slower. This accelerates the breakdown of alcohol by about 50 percent, according to the university hospital.

"it is also known that the inherited (genetic) structure and thus the activity of the enzymes that break down alcohol varies from person to person". Genetic differences such as these mean that people from East Asia are more likely to be alcohol intolerant," the report continues. It is still unclear how strong the effect of these factors is on alcohol consumption and whether there are other indicators that play a role.

Cologne: university hospital conducts study on alcohol degradation – these influencing factors are to be investigated

  • drinking speed
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Body weight
  • Body size
  • Heirloom

The study will now investigate factors such as drinking rate, age, gender, body weight and height together with characteristics of the genetic material. According to the university, the aim is that the influencing factors identified can be used to test more precisely than before what alcohol concentration is to be expected in the blood during a particular consumption. (nb) more news on the 24RHEIN-homepage. Tip: daily information on what’s happening in cologne& NRW happens – just subscribe to our free 24RHEIN newsletter.

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