Mighty Mouse

Jet-Lagged Mice?

Who can resist a story about jet-lagged mice? It’s especially intriguing because those cute little travelers are feeding headlines about how jet lag causes obesity.

Those headlines about jet-lagged mice and jet-lag causing obesity all come from a new publication in Cell that’s really about the effect of a disrupted sleep cycle on gut microbes. Jet travel actually has very little to do with the research. They only looked at two human subjects taking one jet flight each. None of the mice traveled anywhere.

The real story is about sleep disruption and the how it might change the microbes in your gut to make you more vulnerable to obesity. It’s very preliminary stuff in terms of what it means for people because they only have data from two people at two time points — before and after a single 8-hour flight.

The preoccupation with jet lag by these scientists is odd. It’s just a subset of a much larger problem of disrupted sleep. The link between disrupted sleep and obesity is an important one to investigate and these data provide some insight into how it might work. The implications of shift work and other common disruptions to the sleep cycle deserve more attention than jet lag.

Perhaps these guys just wanted to make us look.

“Aw made you look. You a slave to a page in my rhyme book.” — Lyrics by Nas

Click here to read more from Medscape and here to read the study.

Mighty Mouse, 1945 public domain image from Wikimedia Commons

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