There have been numerous advances made as far as genes are concerned. Scientists have been steadily discovering, identifying, and isolating genes in the hope of making new medicines and curing diseases. One gene that has been located has to do with your internal clock, that system which helps awaken or calm your body down based on day and night. Your body’s internal clock needs to reset whenever you travel across multiple time zones, and this adjustment process is known as jet lag.
Jet lag occurs from the rapid movement across time zones, and this puts the body’s internal clock out of sync. The resulting symptoms, ranging from headaches to nausea to fatigue and more, is the body’s systems being out of joint and attempting to adjust. The gene in question that scientists have uncovered is believed to work against the body’s realignment to the new time zone, preventing the adjustment from happening too rapidly. Were this gene halted or turned to the off position, the body’s circadian rhythms might be able to adjust more rapidly, which could in turn potentially result in jet lag becoming a thing of the past. This theory is based on laboratory tests involving mice.
According to the studies done, the gene that scientists uncovered actually works against the body’s internal clock, slowing the adjustment process.
Depending on the person and how many time zones were crossed during the flight, it could take anywhere from one to three days or possibly even longer to adjust to the new time zone. Until then, the traveler will be subject to various symptoms of jet lag, some of which could be debilitating both physically and mentally if severe enough.
The gene does serve a purpose, specifically regulating the internal clock. This barrier gene prevents the clock from speeding up or slowing down at an unhealthy rate of speed. Although there is this obvious benefit, the gene being active leaves the person susceptible to suffering from jet lag. Researchers hope to develop drugs that help severely reduce the effects of jet lag systems and ultimately develop a cure for jet lag, but realizing this goal is still quite a ways off. If your internal clock is out of sync, it is not only jet lag that you could be susceptible to. Such disruptions have the potential to open the door for serious conditions, disorders, and diseases, such as cancer and weak immune systems.
Not only that, but disrupted circadian rhythms are almost always found in people who have mental illnesses, All of this could become a thing of the past or at least decreased by a significant margin once researchers develop drugs that can work effectively on this gene.
Although the jet lag cure is far off, at least scientists have made it so far as to identify the gene responsible for circadian reset speed, and once it becomes fully understood so as to manipulate it as necessary, then treatments can come not only for jet lag, but for any illness related to disrupted sleep cycles.