People with a family history of alcoholism are already known to be at a greater risk of developing a drinking problem - but new findings show they're also more likely to hold on to the painful memory of hangovers.

A new paper by psychologist Dr Richard Stephens at Keele University drew on two studies focusing on hangover frequency and severity.

In the first study, 142 individuals, including 24 with a family history of problem drinking, were asked to complete a survey about their hangovers from the past 12 months.

The study found those with alcoholism in their family background recollected more frequent hangover symptoms than those who didn't have any family history of problem drinking, taking account of alcohol consumption levels.

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In the second study, a group of 49 participants, including 17 who had a family history of alcoholism, were interviewed the morning after a night of drinking when any hangover symptoms would be present.

The alcohol consumption levels were again controlled, but the participants with a family history of alcoholism did not show any greater signs of hangover symptoms compared to participants without any family background of problem drinking.

"We started off this research by questioning whether hangovers may impact on problem drinking, either positively by providing a natural curb on excessive drinking, or negatively should some drinkers feel compelled to drink through a hangover, known as 'the hair of the dog' drinking," Stephens said.

"Taken together with findings from prior research, it appears that people who are predisposed to develop problem drinking are no more susceptible to developing a hangover after a night of alcohol than people who are not predisposed."

However, Stephens found that such people appear to remember their hangovers more lucidly.

"It may be possible to exploit this lucid memory for hangovers to curb excessive drinking.
"Reminding problem drinkers of the negative consequences of incapacitating hangover - for example, letting down family members due to abandoned plans - may help them to manage their alcohol consumption."

Entrepreneurs love their companies like their kids

Researchers have found high-flying business types love their companies like parents love their children. Photo / 123RF
Researchers have found high-flying business types love their companies like parents love their children. Photo / 123RF

Can you love your own company as much as you love your kids?

You can, according to a new study by Finnish researchers which used functional MRIs to study the brain activity of fathers and high-growth entrepreneurs.

Fathers were shown pictures of their own children as well as other children they knew.

Entrepreneurs were shown pictures of their own companies and other companies they were familiar with.

The results from Finnish fathers were similar to those from previous brain studies primarily conducted on mothers.

Looking at images of one's own child in particular deactivated the parts of the brain that are responsible for the theory of mind and social understanding.

Similar deactivations were observed among entrepreneurs who self-rated as being very closely attached to their company.

Meanwhile, the activation of the brain areas responsible for rewarding and processing emotions seemed to be associated with the confidence of the research subjects among both fathers and especially among entrepreneurs.

Higher confidence was found to be more typical among men than women.

"Our results indicate that less-confident fathers and male entrepreneurs may be more sensitive to the dangers and risks of parenting and entrepreneurship," study co-author Marja-Liisa Halko said.

On the other hand, the results also suggest that overconfidence and the repression of negative emotions may lead to overestimation of the probability of success and overly optimistic assumptions for the company.

A menstrual cycle in a dish

US scientists have developed a miniature female reproductive tract that fits in the palm of your hand. Photo / Northwestern University
US scientists have developed a miniature female reproductive tract that fits in the palm of your hand. Photo / Northwestern University

US scientists have developed a miniature female reproductive tract that fits in the palm of your hand - and could eventually change the future of research and treatment of diseases in women's reproductive organs.

This new 3D technology, called Evatar, is made with human tissue and will enable scientists to conduct much-needed testing of new drugs for safety and effectiveness on the female reproductive system.

Evatar will also help scientists understand diseases of the female reproductive tract such as endometriosis, fibroids - which affect up to 80 per cent of women - cancer and infertility.

The ultimate goal is to use stem cells of an individual patient and create a personalised model of their reproductive system.

Evatar, which resembles a small cube, contains 3D models of ovaries, fallopian tubes, the uterus, cervix, vagina and liver with special fluid pumping through all of them that performs the function of blood.

"This is nothing short of a revolutionary technology," said lead investigator Teresa Woodruff, a reproductive scientist and director of the Women's Health Research Institute at Northwestern University.

The organ models are able to communicate with each other via secreted substances, including hormones, to closely resemble how they all work together in the body.