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 Local

Manar, Tumulty Formally Support Hawkins

Fresh
3-30-15 Rianne Hawkins Andy Manar Cecilia Tumulty

A former mayor and county and village official is backing a Springfield woman's bid to take the top job in the Springfield City Clerk's office in next week's election.

in Local

Congressman: Don’t Trust Obama Admin or Iran

Fresh
rodney davis

Iran's possible reversal of a promise to ship out its atomic fuel is more proof that the Obama administration and its foreign policy are failures.

in Local

Duckworth Announces Senate Run

Fresh
Tammy Duckworth

An Illinois Congresswoman is the first to say she wants Mark Kirk's seat in the U.S. Senate.

in Local

Anti-Vehicle Theft Money Cut from Budget

Fresh
handcuffs2

Groups that help fund the prevention of motor vehicle thefts in Illinios are among those that are sounding the alarm on some of Governor Bruce Rauner's budget cuts.

in Local

Lawmakers Consider Requiring Paid Sick Days

Fresh
sick

The choice of going to work sick or staying home and not getting paid would no longer be the choice – under a bill discussed in an Illinois Senate committee.