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Researchers identify new drug target for treating jet lag and shift work disorders
Date:8/30/2013

University of Notre Dame researchers, as part of a collaborative effort, have identified a protein that potentially could be a target for drugs that that would help people recover faster from jet lag and better adjust their circadian rhythms during rotational shift work. The study appears in the Aug. 29th issue of the journal Cell. It can be found at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0092867413009616

An internal circadian body clock helps virtually all creatures synchronize their bodily functions to the 24-hour cycle of light and dark in a day. However, travel to a different time zone, or shift work, disrupts the body's clock. Furthermore, it can take up to a day for the body to adjust to each hour that the clock is shifted, resulting in several days of fatigue, indigestion, poorer cognitive performance and sleep disturbance.

Giles Duffield, associate professor of biological sciences at Notre Dame and a member of the University's Eck Institute for Global Health, and Kevin Flanagan, a University alumnus and now a doctoral student at Washington University in St. Louis, characterized the protein SIK1, revealing that it plays a pivotal role in preventing the body from adjusting too quickly to changes in the environment.

Duffield and Flanagan, along with researchers from University of Oxford and F. Hoffman La Roche, and led by senior research scientist Stuart Peirson at the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, identified roughly 100 genes that the body switches on in response to light, initiating a series of events that help to retune the body clo
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Contact: Giles Duffield
Giles.E.Dufield.2@nd.edu
574-631-1834
University of Notre Dame
Source:Eurekalert

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