News

Say goodbye to jet lag

Say goodbye to jet lag

Photo: clipart.com

LONDON (Reuters) – Scientists have found a genetic mechanism in mice that hampers their body clock’s ability to adjust to changes in patterns of light and dark, and say their results could someday lead to the development of drugs to combat jet lag.

Researchers from Britain’s Oxford University and from the Swiss drug firm Roche used mice to analyze patterns of genes in an area of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) – which in mammals pulls every cell in the body into the same biological rhythm.

They found that one molecule, called SIK1, is key to how the mice responded to changes in light cycles.

When the scientists blocked the activity of SIK1, the mice recovered faster from disturbances in their daily light and dark cycle that had been designed to induce a form of mouse jet lag.

If the corresponding mechanism can be found and similarly blocked in humans, jet lag may become a thing of the past, the researchers said in their study, published online in the journal Cell on Thursday.

“We’re still several years away from a cure for jet lag, but understanding the mechanisms that generate and regulate our circadian clock gives us targets to develop drugs to help bring our bodies in tune with the solar cycle,” said Russell Foster, director of Oxford’s sleep and circadian neuroscience institute.

He said such drugs could also have broader potential value, including for people with mental illnesses where sleep disturbances are common.

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment, Weird

Kid celebrates World Book Day by going to school dressed as Christian Grey

50shades

The 11-year-old was sent home from school after he came in a costume modeled after the S&M-loving star of "Fifty Shades of Grey."

in Music

Grateful Dead plan Jerry Garcia tribute

jerrygarcia

The surviving members will perform a concert billed as "Dear Jerry: Celebrating The Music Of Jerry Garcia."

in Lifestyle

Making a ‘smart’ swing set

biba

One company is trying to combine high-tech equipment with old-school playground gear.

in Entertainment

Stallone adapting ‘The Expendables’ for TV

expendable

The "Rambo" star has signed a deal to develop the series, which will unite action stars on a mission to stop a terrorist.