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Science Says Your Brain Could Benefit from Jet Lag


Why do annoying things keep ending up being good for us?

Do you hate jet lag? If you’re like most people, your answer is probably yes. However, it may be time to reevaluate your answer, as science says that a little jet lag could do you well.

According to a study conducted by professors from Northwestern University, your brain could actually benefit from jet lag. They arrived at this conclusion after testing it on a fruit fly with induced jet lag. The test showed that the jet lag, which interrupted the circadian-rhythm of the body, actually protected the neurons of the fly, and therefore protected the brain from Huntington’s disease. The findings also revealed some potential new treatment pathways that could “slow the progression of or prevent neurodegenerative diseases.”

Northwestern University’s Dr. Ravi Allada, a circadian rhythms expert who led the research which resulted in these findings, says, “It seems counter-intuitive, but we showed that a little bit of stress is good.”

“We subtly manipulated the circadian clock, and that stress appears to be neuroprotective,” Allada explains. “We have long known that a disrupted clock is an early indicator of neurodegenerative disease. In many cases, sleep disruption precedes any other symptom. But we didn’t know whether the circadian disruption is a cause of the disease or a consequence of the disease.”

Allada and his team plan to test this method next on the fruit fly model of Alzheimer’s disease, in the hopes of developing an early intervention method that could slow down the progression of neurodegenerative diseases.

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