"People study things because they are trying to understand things they don't," Abrahams said. "There are often a lot of problems that seem trivial, unless you happen to encounter it. If you or a relative get that disease, then it becomes the most important thing in the world."
And don't think that this is just a U.S. epidemic.
Across the pond in Great Britain -- home to roughly 58,000 pubs -- a researcher just published a study that determined that, when drunk, women find men more attractive.
Marcus Munafo, a researcher in experimental psychology at the University of Bristol in England, funded his study through a $60,000 grant from the Alcohol Education and Research and Council, a group founded by the British Parliament.
Munafo concluded that with just a little bit of alcohol consumed in a short period of time, people find others roughly 10 percent more attractive than when they are sober.
The results of the study indicate that as little as a large glass of wine or a pint-and-a-half of beer is enough to make the girl or guy sitting on the bar stool next to you appear more attractive than you might otherwise think.
Munafo said the research is part of a wider program of studies looking at how alcohol modifies face perception and "cost almost nothing." He said his research is really focused on the behaviors that are more common after drinking, such as unsafe sex or violence.
"Our hypothesis," he said, "is that this might in part be because we begin to process emotional cues in faces differently after we've consumed alcohol."