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Pills to help body clock of night-shift workers

New pills of glucocorticoid could help adjust your internal body clock to work in night shifts or avoid jet lag the way it works during the day to eliminate various health risks, including cancer are in the pipeline.

A team of Australian researchers, with the administration of glucocorticoid or a class of hormones used as powerful anti-inflammatory compounds to treat various diseases, proved that the problem can be addressed.

“This new scientific discovery opens the door to innovative therapies that could act on the different parts of the circadian system so that these rhythms can be adjusted to inverted sleep schedules,” said Diane B Boivin, director of the Douglas Mental Health University Institute.

The team studied the rhythmic expression of clock genes in white blood cells to see how they adjusted in response to glucocorticoids and in their analysis of 16 healthy volunteers in temporal isolation chambers found that the peripheral biological clocks located in white blood cells can be synchronised with these glucocorticoid tablets.

“These cells are involved in our body’s reaction to attacks from many pathogens. This study suggests that biological rhythms may play a role in controlling immune function in night-shift workers,” added co-author Marc Cuesta, post-doctoral fellow.

Physiological changes over the course of a day are regulated by a circadian system comprised of a central clock located deep inside the brain and multiple clocks located in different parts of the body. As humans are mainly diurnal creatures, staying awake at night disrupts all of the body’s internal biological clocks.

Over the long term, working in night shifts or keeping awake during the flight travel can lead to a high incidence of various health problems, such as metabolic or cardiovascular problems or even certain types of cancer.

Boivin and her team earlier had shown that exposing workers to bright light at night or adjusting work schedules can improve the synchronisation of the central biological clock to their work schedule. Their new study has been published in the FASEB Journal.


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