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

2 hours ago in Entertainment

‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ headed for Broadway debut

Fresh
mockingbird

Harper Lee's classic novel is coming to Broadway for the first time in a new stage version written by "West Wing" writer Aaron Sorkin.

2 hours ago in Music

Paul McCartney and Skype make tech history

paulmccartney

Paul McCartney is embracing modern technology by teaming up with Skype to launch the first ever audio emojis in time for Valentine's Day.

2 hours ago in Entertainment

Charlize Theron gearing up for ‘Fast 8’

charlizetheron

The "Mad Max: Fury Road" star is in early talks to play the villain in the eighth installment of the hugely successful street racing series.

2 hours ago in Entertainment

‘Deadpool’ isn’t even out yet – but a sequel is in the works

18-overlay-6

Ryan Reynolds suits up as the homicidal mercenary, aka Wade Wilson, in the adaptation of the Marvel comic book series, which opens Friday.

3 hours ago in Entertainment

Move over Whopper, the King is adding hot dogs to its menu

22-overlay-7

The world's most famous "dog" is helping the fast food chain promote its latest offering.