A cure for jetlag? Scientists discover body clock 'reset button'

The findings could reduce the symptoms of jet lag after travelling through different time zones

Scientists have discovered the body clock 'reset button', taking them one step closer to tweaking the clock in order to make jet lag and shift work less painful.

The findings could reduce the symptoms of travelling through different time zones and working unsociable hours, which often makes people either tired or unable to sleep. Results from the study, published in journal Science, suggest the newly-found button could be used to switch the master clock to a new time zone, for example from London to Beijing, in just one day.

A team based at Kyoto University in Japan discovered the 'reset button' in the brain. There are clocks located throughout the body but the master clock is found within the brain, where it works to keep the body in tune with the world around us, creating fatigue at night and alertness during daylight.

The clock uses light to monitor time, but adjusts slowly. For every time zone travelled, it takes the body approximately a full day to catch up, according to the BBC.

Shift work or long haul flights disrupt sleep and hunger patterns, as the body clock falls out of tune with the rising and setting of the sun.

The master 'clock' is comprised of a group of about 10,000 brain cells that communicate with each other in order to control the time. The team of scientists discovered that by interfering with the vasopressin receptors - brain cell 'ears' that allow them to talk to each other - allows the clock to move more rapidly.

The team, led by Yoshiaki Yamaguchi, examined genetically modified mice with no vasopressin receptors and found they were able to re-adjust clocks that have been put back eight days within one day.

Normal mice took six days to adjust and eight days if their clock was put forward eight hours. Mice without vasopressin receptors again managed to re-adjust their clocks more rapidly and adjusted within two days.

Similar results were achieved when scientists injected normal mice with a drug, and they were able to  adjust their body clock quickly. 

The study's authors concluded: "Jet lag is a blessing to circadian biologists because the disruption of mental and physical well-being immediately highlights the importance of our internal “body clock.” It is also a curse because jet lag has so far eluded attempts at a cure.

"Mice lacking receptors for the neuropeptide arginine vasopressin (AVP) are resistant to jet lag, providing new hope of overcoming this modern malaise. Not only may this help us recover from symptoms of jet lag, but it should also help unravel the neural circuit that sets the tempo to our lives."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine