Jet-lag resistant mice!
I have a new post up at Scientific American MIND blogs, talking about jet lag.
Jet lag is no doubt an unfortunately side effect of man’s dream of flight. While the occasional sleep disturbance may seem little more than a nuisance, repeated jet lag (or continuous shift work) is an insidious killer. Epidemiological studies repeatedly show increased risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, sleep disorders and metabolic derangement in those forced to frequently reset their internal clocks.
Given the contemporary nature of the malaise, perhaps it’s not so surprising that jet lag has stubbornly eluded a cure. In a peculiar turn of events, a recent study points to a water-retention hormone as a crucial candidate in the battle against jet lag. Mice lacking the vasopressin hormone receptors boasted a more flexible—and seemingly fully functional—internal clock, allowing them to rapidly phase-shift and adjust to new light-dark cycles. These became the perfect globetrotters.
How in the world can deletion of vasopressin receptors lead to jet lag-resistant mice?
Head over there and check it out!