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'Drunken' fruit flies use alcohol as a drug

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Uploaded on Feb 16, 2012

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Fruit flies infected with a blood-borne parasite consume alcohol to self-medicate, a behavior that greatly increases their survival rate, an Emory University study finds.

"We believe our results are the first to show that alcohol consumption can have a protective effect against infectious disease, and in particular against blood-borne parasites," says Todd Schlenke, the evolutionary geneticist who led the research.

The findings, published in Current Biology, raise an important question: Could humans control blood-borne parasites, such as malaria, through high doses of alcohol? For more info: emory.edu/esciencecommons.

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