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Chronic jet-lag conditions hasten death in aged mice

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.


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Contact: Heidi Hardman
hhardman@cell.com
617-397-2879
Cell Press
6-Nov-2006


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