As I prepare for my annual pilgrimage to England, I wondered about the advances in cures for jet lag...
Thankfully, I do not spend half my life on planes these days and as such enjoy a much better quality of life. But I do try and get back to England to spend a little time with my family each year. That time is fast approaching and I thought I would take a look to see if there were any new remedies out there for jet lag. In the past, I have found there is no substitute for relaxing on the flight and then getting as much sunlight as I can when I arrive at my destination. But I performed a search and here are some of the more interesting things I turned up.
One patent (5402190) issued in 1995 claims that only certain wavelengths of light influence the body clock and thus wearing rose tinted sunglasses when it is meant to be nighttime will stop the brain thinking it is in daylight. In the background it states:
I have determined that light wavelengths between about 480 and 530 nm reaching the eyes at an inappropriate time with respect to the biological cycle rather than all light wavelengths as had been previously thought, appear to be the wavelengths which cause the inappropriate resetting of the biological clock and allow the user to control, in conjunction with appropriately timed exposure to light capable of affecting the internal human clock, the timing of his normal functioning with normal wakefulness and alertness.
So that is a way to stop the body adjusting, but I want a way that helps. So, I continued my search. One thing I found was that Cephalon had been trying to get a drug approved for this very purpose. It is a slight variant of a drug designed to help people stay awake, and which will be losing patent protection soon. It was approved by the FDA in 2007 for the treatment of narcolepsy and disorders suffered by shift workers, but they declined to approve it for jet lag in 2010.
In 2005 Airbus filed a patent with the wonderful title of “Airplane seat, passenger bench, magnetic field resonance system, and use of a device for generating electromagnetic interaction in an airplane seat or in a passenger bench in an aircraft.”
First I hope Airbus is not planning on replacing seats with benches! Second, the airlines are still paranoid about the use of electronics on the plane, and now they want to start generating electromagnetic fields in our seats? Hmmm. As yet there is no word on its approval.
The hunt continues. Looking at hopeful research, Norway has found out that we are not the only members of this planet that suffer from jet lag. Mold does as well! They have found out that Lithium helps the mold deal with this problem. I am so glad that mold no longer has to deal with this issue. I can also see that mold might be better viewed through rose colored glasses and I hope there is none of the Airbus passenger bench.
Another site informed me that by middle age, the brain starts to have problems dealing with a key pattern of rhythmic neural activity and so I can expect things such as jet lag to get worse. I bet the mold does not have this problem to deal with!
Continuing to learn more, I find that possibly it is the adrenal gland that is responsible for some of the time keeping functions of the body, or at least squirting the right stuff into the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nuclei – you keeping up with me here? When a group of scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry switched off the adrenal clock in mice, the rodents adapted their behavior more quickly to the new time and made a more rapid return to their laps on the wheel in synch with the new external time. I can’t say I have ever done laps on a wheel.
So now I am confused. Are these people telling me that mold has an adrenal gland and that Lithium stops it?
Oh well, I guess I will just get some sun when I get there, but by all accounts the weather in England this year is so bad that it may affect the Olympic Games. Guess I will just have another pint of cider! What are you favorite cures for jet lag?Brian Bailey
– keeping you covered
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