Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Body Clock Breakthrough Could Lead to Magic Jet Lag Pill

Jumping time zones won’t be so jarring if the findings from a new study pan out. Researchers have pinned down the hormone responsible for regulating circadian rhythms.

This breakthrough could lead to new treatments for jet lag. A hormone supplement in the form of a pill in theory could readjust the human body’s circadian rhythms.
A team of German researchers tested the treatment on lab mice.

The medication metyrapone was able to adjust hormone levels affecting their sleep-wake cycle.

Such a treatment could have a tremendous health benefit for frequent business travelers and rotating shift workers. It’s unknown whether a treatment to rapidly readjust the body clock would be more beneficial than the slower naturally occuring adjustments.

Circadian rhythm sleep disorders such as jet lag have been linked to increased health risks including breast cancer, heart disease and depression.

Planning ahead by slowly adjusting sleeping and waking hours before a trip may reduce the effects of jet lag. Rest periods, exercise and light therapy may also help.

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