Whether you are a college student on their way or coming home from spring break or a seasoned business man or woman who travels non-stop, if you have travelled far enough, jet lag might be a mutual problem.
The invention world never sleeps, no pun intended, and a new pill to treat jet lag that could be on store shelves within five years is a prime example of why. Thanks to a discovery that allowed scientists to seemingly reset the human body clock, a new invention might be helping people fight their dreaded travel woes.
Researchers at Manchester University have found a mechanism that manages how people react to long-distance travel or irregular work hours.
To get a better understanding of the work that is being put into this invention, it might make sense to first understand what causes the tiredness, insomnia and other symptoms that go hand-in-hand with jet lag. The answer is the circadian rhythm otherwise known as the body clock. When your circadian rhythm is out of sync with nature’s light and dark hours, it causes the confusion. This temporary sleep disorder commonly occurs in those who are flying across multiple time zones and their body clock is often ahead of or behind their end location.
According to scientists at the Kyoto University that are led by Yoshiaki Yamaguchi, it takes about one day for the body to readjust to every one-hour change in environmental time.
The tests that have been conducted thus far on this invention have been done on specially-bred mice. Their research revealed an enzyme that controls how the body’s clock can be reset.
Within the research, they deleted the gene in the mice, in order for them to stop producing the enzyme, which is called casein kinase 1, epsilon.
The mice were then studied for changes by timing the light switches in their cages to imitate a weekend flight to New York.
What was found was that the mice without the important enzyme adapted a lot easier to the new day-night pattern and showed much smaller metabolic disruption.
Although deleting the gene isn’t possible in humans, the findings have allowed pharmaceutical firms to investigate a pill that would block the enzyme instead.
It looks as though the enzyme is the key to the winding backwards or forwards of the body clock. Although there is a “lag” on the invention of the enzyme-blocking pills hitting the market, we definitely think this is a step in the right direction for spring breakers and business men and women alike!
Copyright Davison 2014