An Instant Cure for Jet-Lag?
The London Daily Mail reports that scientists have identified the signals from the brain that control the circadian rhythm-a built-in biologic rhythm, partially governed by the cycle of day and night, that helps us keep track of when it's time to sleep, eat and wake up.
Our "body clocks" are controlled by a region of the brain known as the suprachiasmatic nuclei-previously, scientists thought this part of the brain fired constantly. New research on mice shows differently, suggesting that it fires at dusk before stopping for the night and picks up again at dawn.
The findings, which are published in the journal Science, have huge implications that reach far beyond the travel-weary.
Now that researchers have identified the signal, it means they can work on manipulating it. Co-researcher Daniel Forger told the NY Daily News that not only could this research be developed to help trick the brain into adjusting to time zones, but it also has the potential to find treatments for other, more serious, afflictions influenced by the body's internal clock.
"If we could change the signal the cells are sending, we could help people recover from long airline flights," Forger told the NY Daily News. "It could also help efforts to treat disorders such as narcolepsy, cancer, mood disorders and Alzheimer's disease."
But don't head to the doctor for a prescription just yet–the research is only in the beginning phase. It will be at least a few years before any kind of pill to cure jet lag is available, reports the NY Daily News.