Canadian doctors are being praised for developing an invention that can help you sober up quickly in the event that you have one drink too many.
The life-saving device is made of a gas mask connected to a supply of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Once hooked up to the intoxicated person, it encourages the individual to hyperventilate to rid the body of alcohol. While hyperventilation can be dangerous due to one’s body being deprived of necessary carbon dioxide, doctors could incorporate a method that provides just enough carbon dioxide to prevent physical discomfort.
“With each breath, it is designed to allow the normal amount of carbon dioxide to escape and any excess is returned on the very next breath,” said study author and inventor Joseph Fisher, an anesthesiologist at University Health Network in Toronto. In a statement to Gizmodo, Fisher explained, “This is all done in a simple way by a mechanical valve so it is foolproof — without needing electronics or computers.”
The findings of Fisher and his teams of researchers were published on Thursday in Scientific Reports. For the study, they tested the device on five healthy volunteers. The participants were given 80-proof vodka mixed with 500 milliliters of water. They were then observed over two days drinking and sobering up naturally before being observed sobering up with the device. Using the gas mask, the drinkers were found to have sobered up three times faster.
“The greater the alcohol concentration in the blood, the more effective the method is,” Fisher said. “If the patient is unconscious, a tube can be placed in the lungs to protect the patient’s breathing, and the method can then be applied manually.”
This groundbreaking device can be a critical tool in combating drunk driving and alcohol poisoning if made readily available. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration has already granted permission to Fisher’s company, Thornhill Medical, to manufacture the device for emergency room use in the United States.
“The method is so simple and obvious that even looking at it, no one recognizes its potential,” said Fisher. “Hiding in plain sight. I don’t know how else to explain it.”