Monday, November 06, 2006

Can Jet-Lag Lead to an Early Grave?

Mice are once again the subject of unusual torture, this time to show the affects of jet-lag and unusual sleep patterns. Listen up if you're a frequent international traveler, or you work the graveyard shift.

In a University of Virginia study,
reported by Reuters, "old mice forced to live on a confusing schedules of light and darkness, simulating rotating shifts or international travel, died sooner than those on gentler schedules."

Survival rates were cut in half by the confusing schedule.

I'd like everyone reading this post to take a moment and thank the poor mice that gave their lives in this study. How many creatures would you guess die from a "confusing" light schedule? Very few, I hope. But with any luck, this study will lead to advancements that save the lives of thousands.

So what killed the mice? Researchers aren't sure, but it probably wasn't stress. During the study, "their daily levels of a stress hormone called corticosterone did not increase."

It could be the hormones that adjust ones sleeping schedule, like melatonin. In previous studies, these hormones were found to "affect aging and immune system processes," Reported Reuters.

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About Me

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.