Scientists conduct mouse body clock study
A cure for jet lag may eventually be on the cards, now that scientists say they have found a genetic mechanism in mice that stops their body clock from adjusting to patterns of light and dark. This could one day lead to the development of drugs that fight jet lag.
The researchers, from Oxford University in the UK and the Swiss drug firm Roche, focused on an area of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN), which in mammals pulls every cell in the body into the same biological rhythm.
One molecule, which the scientists call SIK1, was found to be the key motivator in responding to changes in light cycles.
“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,” Russell Foster, director of Oxford’s sleep and circadian neuroscience institute, explained.
[Cartoon by Body and Soul International – www.bodyandsoulinternational.com ]