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Biotech Science

Fasting May Fix Jet Lag 131

Posted by kdawson
from the lost-in-translation dept.
stoolpigeon writes "Reuters reports on a Harvard Medical School study on sleep patterns and how they relate to food. Researchers already knew that the sleep patterns of mice would change to match the opportunity to feed, but they did not know the mechanism that enabled the change. To find out, they looked for the part of the brain that was involved. They bred mice without a certain master gene that regulates the body's clock, and then targeted various parts of the brain with the gene, delivered in the shell of a virus. The results may, among other things, provide a new method for preparing to deal with jet lag: 'A period of fasting with no food at all for about 16 hours is enough to engage this [alternate body] clock,' the lead researcher said. The study appears in the journal Science."
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Fasting May Fix Jet Lag

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  • Re:Poor mice (Score:4, Informative)

    by PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) on Monday May 26, 2008 @09:16AM (#23543715) Journal
    Actually, yes they do.
    Just like people die of smoking - the smoking doesn't kill them, but the effects of smoking do.

    We could look at the dangerous effects of jet lag here... [mos.org]
    And we can look at a bit of an unconfirmed urban legend here [kottke.org](but also not disproven, I just can't find an original article)...

    And we can see the long term effects of jetlag (Thanks to mice... Surprisingly... NOT) here [virginia.edu]...
  • by homey of my owney (975234) on Monday May 26, 2008 @10:19AM (#23544223)
    This isn't anything new. Argonne National Laboratories did research much like this, to engage the "alternate body" clock. It involves feasting and fasting, with special attention to the day prior to travel crucial to it working:
    Anti-Jet-Lag Diet [anl.gov]
  • by yelvington (8169) on Monday May 26, 2008 @10:45AM (#23544501) Homepage
    Apparently in haste to make jokes about bad airplane food, most have missed the point that the article refers to fasting BEFORE the flight. The Reuters headline writer also missed that fact.

    The idea is to start pushing your food cycle toward the target before you fly so your body is more receptive to the time change.

    In fact, if you're taking the typical ATL-ICN-HKG route some airplane dining is going to be pretty important. You'll arrive in Hong Kong around 10 p.m. Your elapsed clock time including layover will be nearly 24 hours, and if you manage your eating and sleeping during that time you'll actually be in pretty good shape the morning after your arrival. (Hint: Sleep as much as possible between ATL and mid-Pacific, and only after that should you turn on the entertainment system.)

    Another study suggests [bbc.co.uk] that Viagra might help with jet lag, but it might create unrelated issues that you might have trouble explaining.
  • by Oktober Sunset (838224) <sdpage103@yahoo. ... k minus language> on Monday May 26, 2008 @11:12AM (#23544745)
    If you are starving after 16 hours you have something wrong with you.
  • by TheWizardOfCheese (256968) on Monday May 26, 2008 @04:15PM (#23547913)
    Exactly. The procedure suggested by the researchers is:

    1. Start with the day you will arrive in your final time zone.
    2. Count back 16 hours from your normal breakfast time on that day, and stop eating from that point.
    3. At your normal breakfast time on the final day, eat a substantial, nutritious, meal

    Note that this means you may have to eat your breakfast on a plane or in an airport, and it may not be your normal breakfast time in the local timezone when you eat breakfast. You are supposed to eat substantial real food, not coffee and a pastry, so you may have to expend some effort and foresight to ensure that such food is available when you are supposed to eat it.
  • Re:Amenities? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Free the Cowards (1280296) on Monday May 26, 2008 @11:16PM (#23551373)
    United is doing exactly what you're looking for. They call it Economy Plus. You get five inches more legroom than they usually give you, and of course charge you more money. I don't see United suddenly taking over the airline business.

    There's plenty of middle ground out there. Aside from United, the different airlines vary quite a bit in terms of how much room they give you. They may not advertise this fact strongly, and the various travel web sites may not make it easy to search for this, but it's not hard to find out on your own and adjust your decision accordingly. But the simple fact remains that most people don't care enough to make it a major competitive advantage to lose a bunch of seating capacity in exchange for more passenger comfort.

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