Monday, December 31, 2007

Hangovers

My husband just sent me a link to a NY Times op-ed piece that was making the rounds of his recovery group, and it's interesting enough that I want to share it here.

The Hangover That Lasts

Go read it - you have to have a login to NYTimes.com but they're free and they've never hassled me with spam. It isn't very long.

I'm fascinated by the conclusions (from studies on rats) about rats which engaged in the laboratory equivalent of binge drinking during adolescence, and then stopped drinking. They're capable of learning - but they're not capable of relearning. They can't admit they were wrong. They show "a tendency to stay the course, a diminished capacity for relearning and maladaptive decision-making." They "fail to recognize the ultimate consequences of [their] actions." And all this is present even after a long period of sobriety.

The one good thing the study mentions is that, in "former alcohol-drinking mice", exercise clearly stimulates "the regrowth and development of normal neural tissue". So - exercise is good for the formerly drunken brain.

And neither I nor the article's author have ever mentioned the name you're thinking!

Now how do we explain Dick Cheney?

6 comments:

  1. Cheney's got acute malignant megalomania with secondary traits including greed.

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  2. Well, yes, I assumed that; but the question is, is there a chemical explanation??

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  3. Let me note that one of the posters on my recovery e-mail group also pointed out the "stay the course" reference. The connection is obvious, but it's not original here.

    And I as I noted on that group, I appreciate the quote from Othello at the end of the article. Another from the same scene, Cassio again speaking:

    "... Drunk? and speak parrot? and squabble? swagger? swear? and discourse fustian with one's own shadow? O thou invisible spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be known by, let us call thee devil!"

    Happy New Year's Eve to all.

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  4. Anonymous6:23 AM

    Cheney apparently either drank some strange Koolaid or barbecued with locoweed. Much of the commentary out there is that 9/11 pushed him over the edge, but I do not know why he chose to stand near that cliff. Maybe it's the sagebrush syndrome (remember the "sagebrush rebellion"?).

    Anonymous David

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  5. Locoweed? Sagebrush? Sure it wasn't Salvia divinorum?

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  6. Boggart11:31 AM

    Interesting what studies of rats seem to tell us about ourselves. Well, at least the various researchers continue to draw conclusion about humans and human society from studies of rats and ratty behavior. What I am thinking of is a long ago study of rats and overcrowding.

    The study, which can probably be web searched if you care to do so, involved a certain number of rats, with a certain amount of food and space. To start with there were less rats than food and space. Rats being rats, or being there was no television or booze to distract them, they soon multiplied to enough rats for the food and space, and eventually to too many rats for the food and space. The ensuing results mirrored some of the problems in our cities: rat gangs, squabbles that led to murder, infanticide, all the usual disasters.

    We may be only a few chromosomes away from the apes, but we appear to share quite a bit with the local wormtails.

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