Longevity advice needs weighing against the prospect of being poisoned by a nerve agent

There’s conflicting news today for readers who might enjoy a snifter or two before dinner after a hard day in the lab or out in the field

The conflict is summed up in two headlines at scimex:

* Beer and wine makes you feel fine after nerve agent poisoning

 *EXPERT REACTION: Cut the booze to fewer than 10 drinks a week to avoid an early death

The first item reports on a study published in eNeuro which says a compound found in trace amounts in alcoholic beverages is more effective at combating seizures in rats exposed to an organophosphate nerve agent than the current recommended treatment,

Left untreated, organophosphate poisoning can lead to severe breathing and heart complications. It is also known to cause seizures. Some patients are resistant to treatment with the anti-anxiety drug diazepam, the first line of defense for such poisoning, and its effectiveness decreases the longer the seizure lasts.

Asheebo Rojas and colleagues compared the ability of two treatments — diazepam and the anesthetic urethane (ethyl carbamate), commonly formed in trace amounts during fermentation of beer and wine from the reaction of urea and ethanol — to interrupt seizures in rats exposed to the organophosphate diisopropyl fluorophosphate.

The researchers found urethane to be more effective than diazepam, suppressing seizures for multiple days and accelerating recovery of weight lost while protecting the rats from cell loss in the hippocampus.

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