The week in silly studies: Drinking beer can fight off the common cold

Jordan Chittley

If you like beer and don't want to get sick this winter, you're going to want to read about this study.

Scientists at Sapporo Medical University have found that drinking beer can ward off the common cold.

Researchers found that hops, which is a main ingredient in beer, contain a chemical compound called humulone, reports AFP. This compound can guard against severe forms of pneumonia and bronchitis in young people because it can curb the respiratory syncytical (RS) virus. Adults can also reduce their chances of getting the sniffles by consuming humulone, reports The Japan Daily Press.

"The RS virus can cause serious pneumonia and breathing difficulties for infants and toddlers, but no vaccination is available at the moment to contain it," Jun Fuchimoto, a researcher with Sapporo Breweries, told AFP.

[ Related: Smarter people drink alcohol more often ]

But before you reach for that longneck and start chugging, we must point out two serious flaws in this study. The first is that it was funded by Sapporo Breweries — That's the equivalent of Sony funding a study that finds numerous benefits with watching TV. The second glaring issue is that humulone is found in very small quantities in beer, so for any virus-fighting effects, a person would have to drink about 30 cans.

But I guess everyone will have the choice — become a drunk or just risk it and cough a bit.

The researchers are looking into ways to apply humulone to non-alcoholic products.

[ Related: Brewer using beard yeast to make ale ]

This isn't the first study that gives drinkers a reason to smile. Last month, two separate studies in the U.K. and U.S. found smarter people drink alcohol more often. And a few months ago, sociologist Carolyn Hsu found those who binge drink more often are happier. She discovered students don't drink because they are upset or as a way to relieve anxiety, but they drink to attain a social status. And students in high-status groups are more socially satisfied.

(Reuters photo)

The week in silly studies is a feature that appears each Tuesday.
It is not intended to mock real science.

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