Ruth Beran interviews Shieak Tzeng who is conducting the study and healthy volunteer Braid MacRae who is eating the jelly shots.
Binge drinking is known to be a major cardiovascular risk factor with research indicating that excessive alcohol consumption increases the risk of stroke. Shieak Tzeng and Karen Peebles from the Cardiovascular Systems Laboratory at the University of Otago, Wellington are investigating how alcohol alters cardiovascular function and brain blood flow directly after a binge drinking session. In particular, they are trying to determine if the relationship between binge drinking and stroke is causal and what the likely mechanisms may be. Their working hypothesis is that the alcohol intake from a binge drinking session leads to an interruption in the compensation mechanisms. At the moment, they are testing healthy volunteers, like Braid MacRae, to determine what the normal changes are, and how binge drinking may be altering normal cardiovascular function. In the future though, they hope to test at risk groups with high blood pressure, low blood pressure, and general cardiovascular disease.