NASA Technology Benefits Wine Drinkers

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I found this article about how technology developed for Mars is being applied to wine. This is just one more example of how NASA’s technological breakthroughs often reap unexpected benefits.

From the article:

Here’s how the wine comes into play. A few years ago, Mathies began noticing that when he had a glass or two of red wine at dinner, he’d wake up suddenly, like clockwork, at 2:30 in the morning, hot, flushed, and with an elevated heart rate and blood pressure. “It was a classic adrenaline-release, hypertensive response,” he said. For a while, he simply stopped drinking wine.

Some time later he mentioned the effect to a colleague, a former neurobiologist, who said, “I know what your problem is. It’s tyramine.” Tyramine is a modified amino acid made within the human body, and it triggers a set of chemical reactions that ultimately cause the body to produce adrenaline. It’s common in foods that are made through bacterial fermentation, such as wine, cheese and aged meats. Wouldn’t it be nice, he thought, if there were some way to figure out more precisely which foods had tyramine in them, so he could stay away from them.