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

‘Downton Abbey’ to end after season six

This photo released by PBS and Carnival Film and Television Limited shows, from left, Lesley Nicol as Mrs. Patmore, and Sophie McShera as Daisy, in a scene from season four of the Masterpiece TV series, "Downton Abbey." As it returns for its much-awaited fourth season, it remains a series about elegance, tradition and gentility, and the pressures of preserving them. The show premieres Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 9 pm ET on PBS.

Producers confirm that the next season of "Downton Abbey" will be the last.

in Entertainment

‘Empire’ co-stars spark romance rumors

gracegealey

Are Trai Byers and Grace Gealey more than just coworkers?

in Entertainment

Idris Elba could be the next ‘Star Trek’ villain

idriselba

The in-demand actor is in talks to join the star-studded cast of the sci-fi franchise.

in Entertainment, Weird

Balki’s bills: ‘Perfect Strangers’ star owes $280K in taxes, mortgage payments

pinchot

Bank officials say actor Bronson Pinchot hasn't been heard from in over a year.

in Music

Van Halen plan tour, live album

vanhalen

The band is back and ready to hit the road.