A pill that resets body clock could make jet lag a thing of the past

June 24th, 2010 - 12:11 pm ICT by ANI  

London, June 24 (ANI): Scientists at the Max Planck Institute in Germany have moved closer to developing a pill that may help cure jet lag by resetting the body clock.

Jet lag is caused when the various natural timers in the body are “desynchronised” and knocked off balance by traveling long distances.

Its failure to adjust to a new time zone leads to insomnia, loss of appetite, loss of alertness and even depression.

Now, scientists in Germany have discovered that the hormone cortisol is key to keeping the circadian rhythms synchronised.

They have found that levels of cortisol peak at 8am and then steadily drop to their lowest levels between 12am and 4am.

By adjusting the peaks and troughs with a pill, they believe they can restore the natural balance of the body and mind.

Dr Gregor Eichele and his team have discovered that metyrapone, a medication already available, was able to adjust cortisol levels in mice.

“By shifting this cortisol peak to an earlier/later time one can alleviate jet lag in our mouse model and that strategy may also work in the case of humans. We would want to develop a pill that one would have to take a day or so before traveling,” the Telegraph quoted Dr Eichele as saying.

The findings have been reported in the journal Neuron. (ANI)

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