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Older Age May Mean Fewer Hangovers

But study doesn't show why seniors suffer less headache, nausea than younger people after heavy drinking

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The researchers said three factors -- amount of alcohol consumed, frequency of heavy drinking and amount of food eaten with booze -- don't throw off the basic findings.

What's going on? One theory is that a form of "natural selection" is at work, Stephens said. Perhaps heavy drinkers who suffer the worst hangovers simply quit drinking too much.

Dr. Robert Swift, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior who studies substance abuse at Brown University, said another possibility is less smoking -- which appears to worsen hangovers -- in older people.

"The study adds another bit of knowledge about hangovers," Swift said. "However, we still do not understand the cause."

Swift also said there's no evidence that hangovers actually make people less likely to drink.

The study appeared online Sept. 12 and will appear in an upcoming print issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

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