I Want to do a Boozy Experiment, but I Don’t Have the Right Toys
Okay, not a legitimate experiment with a control group and IRB approval for human subjects research, but a little documentation on myself. Uh, that’s more into mad scientist territory, isn’t it?
“The flushing response, which may be accompanied by nausea and a rapid heartbeat, is caused mainly by an inherited deficiency in an enzyme called ALDH2, a trait shared by more than a third of people of East Asian ancestry — Japanese, Chinese or Koreans. As little as half a bottle of beer can trigger the reaction.”
In sharing this article with people, and in discussing the described condition with others in the past, I’ve had several questions about whether this is the same as rosacea, or the little pinkness some really pale folks might get when drinking, or a number of other things that aren’t really the same. As someone afflicted with (or lucky to have – it’s a great party trick) Asian flush, I can confirm that it’s not just a blushing red when drinking alcohol. It’s a redness that expands beyond the face, a pounding heartbeat, overheated skin, and sometimes itchiness and/or altered breathing.
It’s also a little hard to explain to people, because they tend to assume it’s just a little redness, or they assume the redness=serious drunkenness, when it’s actually the case that I turn red after only drink.
All of this makes me want to actually document some of the effects of alcohol on my 1/4 Korean, Asian flushing self. I’m thinking we need photos, measurable quantities of alcohol over time, pulse, and respiration. I’d be interested in measuring my skin temperature if there is a way to do that (because when I start to flush, I also radiate heat), and blood pressure – while I don’t have the equipment, I’m reasonably certain that it’s heavily affected. I think it would be kind of cool to see a chart of how these variables are affected, because I’ve always noticed them but never documented the exact changes.
In short, I could drink and somebody could take measurements. Who’s with me? 😉
A challenge for the librarians: find the relevant OMIM record for this condition.