The findings may not come as a great surprise to exhausted globe-trotting business travelers, but the research nonetheless provides, in rather stark terms, new insight into how the disruption of circadian rhythms can impact well-being and physiology, and how those impacts might change with age. The mouse study is reported by a group led by Gene Block and Alec Davidson of the University of Virginia and appears in the November 7th issue of the journal Current Biology, published by Cell Press.
The researchers were led to examine a possible link between jet lag and mortality by something they had noticed in an earlier, unrelated study: A surprising fraction of old (but genetically altered) rats exposed to a six-hour advance in their light cycle died after the shift in schedule.
In the new work, the researchers examined the mortality link in earnest by looking at how young mice and old mice fared when subjected to two different types of light-cycle shifts. In one regimen, mice experienced a six-hour forward shift once a week, while in the other, mice experienced a six-hour backward shift. A "control" group of young and old mice did not experience any schedule shifts.
The researchers found that the young mice generally survived well under the various conditions. In contrast, the light-cycle shifts had a marked effect on the survivorship of the old mice. While 83% of old mice survived under the normal schedule, 68% survived under the backward-shift regimen and 47% survived under the forward-shift regimen.
Past work has also linked changes in light schedule with death in other animals and under different experimental circumstances, but the findings here indicate that there may be a differential effect of mortality depending on the direction of the schedule shift--forward or backward. Schedule "advancers" did more poorly in the present experiment than did "delayers."
Notably, the researchers found that chronic stress--as measured by daily corticosterone levels--did not increase in the old mice experiencing the light-cycle shifts. The underlying cause of the increased mortality is not yet clear, but could involve sleep deprivation or immune-system disruption.
The body's physiological reaction to time change may be complex. Past research has indicated that circadian clocks govern physiological rhythms in a great variety of tissues in the body, and that different aspects of the physiological clock can adjust to schedule changes at different rates. The researchers speculate that the internal lack of synchrony among different physiological oscillations may have serious health consequences that are exacerbated in aged animals.
Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
Nanoparticle Exposure Can Awaken Dormant Viruses in the Lungs
16.01.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Cholera bacteria infect more effectively with a simple twist of shape
13.01.2017 | Princeton University
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration
"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
17.01.2017 | Machine Engineering
17.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering