Photo (cc) by feverblue
From the University of Washington, where the research was conducted…
[Researcher Werner] Kaminsky used a process called X-ray crystallography to figure out the exact structure of those [beer] acids, humulone molecules and some of their derivatives, produced from hops in the brewing process. That structure is important to researchers looking for ways to incorporate those substances, and their health effects, into new pharmaceuticals.
That doesn’t mean you should go guzzle down a six-pack – figuring out the structure is only step one. Now researchers need to figure out which elements have positive effects and try them out in medicines.