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Jet Lag Cure?: New Research Points to a Pill

Travelers Today       By    Karen Fredrickson

Updated: Oct 07, 2013 10:36 AM EDT

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Once again, there is talk of the possibility of a pill to cure the unwelcome side effects of travel known as jet lag, according to NBC News.

The new research, conducted by scientists from Kyoto University in Japan, have published their findings in Science magazine, which include the finding that the internal body clock might be able to reset, which would overcome the negative effects of jet lag.

The symptoms, as most who have traveled between time zones know well, include tiredness and insomnia, which often also bring irritability. They occur because the body's circadian rhythm becomes out of sync with nature's light and dark. It's a temporary sleep disorder that rights itself on its own after a period of time, but causes travelers much discomfort in the meantime.

"The disruption of mental and physical well-being immediately highlights the importance of our internal 'body clock'," Michael Hastings, neuroscientists at the University of Cambridge and the author of an article in Science that is accompanying the new research, wrote. "It is also a curse because jet lag has so far eluded attempts at a cure."

The researchers, led by Yoshiaki Yamaguchi, genetically modified mice to recover from jet lag quicker by readjusting their behavior almost immediately to eight-hour time shifts, or changes to the light cycle.

The mice lacked receptors for the hormone arginine vasopressin, which the researchers found contributes to jet lag by signaling the brain's internal clock. The jet lag treatment would address this hormone.

Normally, it takes the human body approximately one day for the body to readjust to every one-hour time change.

"This is equivalent to flying between Los Angeles and London without the accompanying 'red-eye,'" Hastings wrote of the research.

Hastings also pointed out that the research could prove hugely beneficial to shift workers as well, who often endure health risks from the constant shift in their internal body clocks.

This isn't the first time scientists have spoken of being near a cure for jet lag, with recent research into a pill cure.

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