Volume 93, Issue x

Wednesday, March 18, 1999


Toronto university TA strike continues

Western receives $10 M gift from city

Holiday crash claims life of student

Millennium scholarships awarded provincewide

Y2K goes off without a hitch

Western researchers prove what Bond knew all along

BAss Ackwards

Western researchers prove what Bond knew all along

By Nina Chiarelli
Gazette Staff

The old adage "an apple a day, keeps the doctor away," has given way to the catch phrase "a martini, shaken not stirred," thanks to researchers at Western.

A study released by Western researchers last month found good health can be achieved by consuming a martini a day, said Maurice Hirst, a professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Western and co-investigator of the study.

He said evidence was uncovered which proved powerful antioxidants found in the shaken mixture of gin and vermouth can effectively reduce disease.

Hirst explained the human body requires oxygen to properly function. However, he said there are some types of reactive oxygen species which are damaging to the body and cause cells to die by destroying their membranes. Hirst said the destruction of these cell membranes can facilitate the occurrence of cancers, cataracts or strokes.

The study, which was based on the idea of a Western alumnus, took two years and investigated the positive, neutralizing effects antioxidants can have on dangerous reactive oxygen species.

"We found that shaken martinis were more effective than stirred ones – We didn't expect to find these results," he said, of the difference in the way the martini was prepared. Hirst explained the findings showed vermouth, found with gin in a classic martini, had more antioxidant potential activity than gin alone.

Although Hirst's results were scientific in nature and did produce statistical data, Bill Bridger, Western's VP-research, said the research was not intended to be taken seriously.

"The results are not significant. It's lighthearted and not what I would call research," Bridger said. "This is not a spoof, the experiment was done and there are measurements. It's not something I would be proud of, for research coming out of Western," Bridger added.

Colleen Cavanaugh, manager of the Mongolian Grill restaurant and the Outer Mongolia martini bar, said she was glad to hear the results.

"The majority of our customers do consume martinis," she said. With a menu of 27 specialty martinis, Cavanaugh added the bar has done a good job of attracting a clientele with discerning taste, who may now be able to reap potential health benefits.

Hirst was quick to add if more than one martini was consumed, the health benefits dwindled. "There is good epidemiological data that one glass of alcohol a day can reduce disease. We also now know that if you go above the one drink a day, it can cause damage."

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