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PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
10-Apr-2014

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Contact: Daniel Forger
forger@umich.edu
734-763-4544
PLOS

Using mathematics to beat jetlag effectively

Press release from PLOS Computational Biology

Our "internal clock" is predicted to shift more rapidly than previously thought. In a study published in PLOS Computational Biology on April 10th, researchers present schedules of light exposure that may shift our circadian clock in the minimum time, simply by adjusting the timing of the beginning and end of each day.

The authors calculated optimal schedules for thousands of different situations, and condensed their findings into four general principles of optimal circadian shifting.

"Overcoming jetlag is fundamentally a math problem and we've calculated the optimal way of doing it," said study author Danny Forger, of the University of Michigan, USA. "We're certainly not the first people to offer advice about this, but our predictions show the mathematically best and quickest ways to adjust across time zones."

The schedules presented are simple to follow, in that they involve only a single daily light exposure, and that they are predicted to produce the same results even in the presence of unpredictable factors.

The work could provide insights to help improve the health and quality of life for pilots and flight attendants as well as shift workers, which make up more than 10 percent of the American workforce.

Based on their findings, the authors have created an app, 'Entrain', which is available for free via the Apple store.

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Financial disclosure This work was supported by AFOSR grant FA9550-11-1-0165 and internal funds from the University of Michigan. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Citation: Serkh K, Forger DB (2014) Optimal Schedules of Light Exposure for Rapidly Correcting Circadian Misalignment. PLoS Comput Biol 10(3): e1003523.doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003523

Please add this link to the freely available article in online versions of your report (the link will go live when the embargo ends): http://www.ploscompbiol.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003523

Contact

Name: Daniel Forger
Institution: University of Michigan
Department: Mathematics
Address: Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, UNITED STATES
Phone: (734) 763-4544
Email: forger@umich.edu

Disclaimer

This press release refers to an upcoming article in PLOS Computational Biology. The release is provided by the article authors. Any opinions expressed in these releases or articles are the personal views of the journal staff and/or article contributors, and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of PLOS. PLOS expressly disclaims any and all warranties and liability in connection with the information found in the releases and articles and your use of such information.

About PLOS Computational Biology

PLOS Computational Biology features works of exceptional significance that further our understanding of living systems at all scales through the application of computational methods. All works published in PLOS Computational Biology are open access. Everything is immediately available subject only to the condition that the original authorship and source are properly attributed. Copyright is retained.

About the Public Library of Science

The Public Library of Science (PLOS) is a nonprofit publisher and advocacy organization founded to accelerate progress in science and medicine by leading a transformation in research communication. PLOS engages in outreach activities that promote Open Access and innovations in the communication of research for scientists and the public. 2013 marks PLOS's tenth year as an Open Access publisher, reaching an international audience through immediate and free availability of research on the Internet. PLOS publishes a suite of seven journals: PLOS Biology, PLOS Medicine, PLOS Genetics, PLOS Computational Biology, PLOS Pathogens, and PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases and PLOS ONE, which publishes research from more than 50 diverse scientific fields and is the largest journal in the world.



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