Tags: circadian rhythm | pill | body clock | jet lag | glucocorticoids

Jet Lag Pill Fools Body Into Thinking Day Is Night

Tuesday, 20 Jan 2015 01:18 PM


A pill may "reset" our biological clocks in the future. Researchers at Canada's McGill University have created a drug that dupes the body's circadian rhythm, the internal clock that tells us when it's day and night.
 
The body's main internal clock is located deep within the brain, but multiple clocks are also located in white blood cells throughout the body. The new pill, which contains a compound called glucocorticoid, can reset the biological clocks within cells, making the body think it's day when it's actually night and vice versa.
 
Tricking the biological clock would allow shift workers to avoid sleep problems associated with having to work at night, such as insomnia, and travelers would be able to step off of long-haul international flights feeling alert and refreshed.
 
Disruptions to our natural biological clock cause many problems, and over time, lead to metabolic and cardiovascular disease. "Problems adjusting to atypical work schedules are a major issue for society," said researcher Dr. Diane B. Boivin.  "Our previous studies clearly show that desynchronized circadian clocks disrupt the sleep, performance and cardiac parameters of night-shift workers. However, current approaches to these problems have significant limitations, as a single therapy can't address the disruptions that occur in all biological clocks."
 
Researchers knew that the central body clock located in the brain sends signals to other organs in animals, and that glucocorticoids, a type of cortisol, played a role in transmitting the signals. But until the recent study, no one had shown that they played the same role in humans.
 
Researchers were put into isolation chambers and given glucocorticoid tablets, which successfully "reset" their body clocks.
 
"These results lead us to believe that we may one day be able to use a combined therapy that targets the central clock (inverting work schedules, administering controlled light therapy) with a pharmacological treatment that targets the peripheral clocks to ensure that all clocks are adjusted," she said.

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A pill may reset our biological clocks in the future. Researchers at Canada's McGill University have created a drug that dupes the body's circadian rhythm, the internal clock that tells us when it's day and night. The body's main internal clock is located deep within the...
circadian rhythm, pill, body clock, jet lag, glucocorticoids
318
2015-18-20
Tuesday, 20 Jan 2015 01:18 PM
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