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.

Latest Headlines

in Entertainment

TV Land ditches the ‘Dukes’

Fresh
dukes

Re-runs of the '80s sitcom "Dukes of Hazzard" are off the air amid controversy over portrayals of the Confederate flag, which is notably featured on the show's "General Lee" vehicle.

in Music

Deadheads get nostalgic before final Grateful Dead shows

Fresh
gratefuldead

After the death of lead guitarist Jerry Garcia in 1995, the surviving four members say they will end The Grateful Dead's 50-year run this weekend.

in Entertainment

Exhibit takes fans inside ‘Hunger Games’

Fresh
hungergames

With hundreds of costumes, props, photos, and interactive displays, "The Hunger Games: The Exhibition" brings fans into the dystopian, post-apocalyptic nation of Panem.

in Entertainment

Stephen Colbert took over a Michigan public access channel

Fresh
25-overlay1

The new "Late Show" host took over the latest episode of "Only in Monroe," which airs in the community of about 21,000 people.

in Lifestyle

5 ways to save money on your summer road trip

Fresh
roadtrip

While a domestic road trip might appear like an affordable alternative to traveling abroad, costs can easily spiral out of control.