Thursday, February 03, 2005

ClockNews #22: Sex, Drugs and Alcohol

Effective Cancer Treatments Follow the Clock

Oncologists have long thought that cancer treatments
tend to be more effective at certain times of day. But they have been unable to
turn this knowledge into practice, because they did not understand the
phenomenon well enough. Now, researchers have discovered a molecular mechanism
that explains why sensitivity to anti-cancer drugs changes with the clock. They
said their findings could lead to new drug treatments that may be more effective
because they harness the power and precision of the body's internal
What Does An Airline Traveler Have In Common With A Glowing Fish?
In William Gibson’s novel Pattern Recognition, the
protagonist posits a theory of jet lag: "Souls can’t move that quickly, and are
left behind, and must be awaited, upon arrival, like lost luggage."
has yet to address the issue of a spiritual speed limit, but it is generally
accepted that jet lag actually results from the upset of the body’s circadian
clock, a biochemical pacemaker that dictates daily rhythms in sleep and
wakefulness as well as body temperature and metabolic activity. In humans, the
circadian rhythm responds to many factors, but daytime–nighttime (or, more
precisely, light–dark) cycles are one major regulator. It is possible to
gradually reset an upset circadian clock; if travelers remain in the same place
for long enough, their circadian rhythm will eventually adjust to the new time
zone and ambient light patterns, and the symptoms of jet lag will
New drugs to help folks sleep

- The impending rollout of a new medicine for
long-term treatment of insomnia has the potential to make its manufacturer
millions - and to further acceptance of the sleeping pill, traditionally a dark
character in the prescription drug world.
Some sleep-disorder specialists
are hailing the new drug. But others caution that chronic use of sleeping pills
is ill advised.
Lunesta, made by Sepracor of Marlborough, Mass., is the
first insomnia drug approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration for
long-term use. With similar drugs, including market leader Ambien, the FDA
advises treatment should last no more than 10 days, although a doctor can
prescribe it longer.
"Night after night after night" is Sepracor's slogan
for the new drug.
Gen-X on Ice
Midnight, of course, is a euphemistic term — during
the summer months of the team’s residence, the sun circles endlessly above the
horizon, illuminating the landscape with a perpetually brilliant glare.
Polarized sunglasses are a must, as are sleep masks — one of the major problems
one experiences down here is an inability to shut off when it is time to go to
sleep. Without the cue of darkness to trigger the body’s diurnal response,
circadian rhythms are thrown into flux and eventually you just have to accept
that it is time to rest no matter what the sun is doing.
Sleeping problems - think about sex not sheep,2106,3173895a7144,00.html

Counting sheep might work for some, but sleep
specialist Fiona Johnston can think of better things to recommend to people
having trouble nodding off at bedtime.
"If it relaxes you, that's fine, but
it wouldn't relax me - I'd find it utterly boring," she said today.
"I have
better things to do with my imagination and so do most people."
lists other options in her book, Getting a Good Night's Sleep, published this
week in an updated third edition to take in recent developments, including
legislative changes.
Among possible visualisations are floating away in a
hot-air balloon, entering a secret bedroom containing memories of a happy
childhood, or going for a walk on a beach.
Another suggestion that "needs no
explanation" is thinking about good sex, "because the storyline can be very
compelling, making it easy to keep your mind free of worries".
Drinking alcohol before bed can ruin sleep quality

But drinking before bed can not only ruin your
night's sleep and your productivity the next day, but could also inflame sleep
disorders and possibly lead to alcoholism, Coulter said.
Alcohol can
suppress REM, or rapid eye movement, stage of sleep, the doctor said.
even though you're falling asleep quicker, you're getting less deeper, quality
sleep," he said.

Archives/Categories: Clock News


Blogger gollux said...

alcohol acts as a muscle relaxant. A standard, if third-preference prescription for RLS is opiates because of their muscle relaxant qualities. Alcohol may have other effects that aren't good, but it does help some of us sleep. Still, the disturbing factor is too strong to use it often.

7:09 PM  

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