Scientists are working on an implant to reduce symptoms of jet lag

People traveling by air and sleeping on the plane wearing headphones and an eye mask - travel concepts

One thing we don’t miss about international travel is jet lag.

The dizzying, deep, tired feeling that hampers the initial pleasure of an overseas adventure is definitely something we could do without.

Luckily, a military organisation has teamed up with Northwestern University in the US to create an implantable wireless device that will control the body’s circadian rhythm.

Yep, that’s right, the military wants to stick a device in you to control your body clock.

But, if we have to get a chip implanted in our heads to make overseas travel easier, you can sign us the heck up.

A team of researchers for the university have signed an agreement with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop the device, which is designed to halve the time it takes to recover from disrupted sleep cycles.

Nicknamed the “living pharmacy,” the device was dreamed up to help military personnel who frequently travel across multiple time zones, and shift workers including first responders, who vacillate between overnight and daytime shifts.

The hope is that down the track the device will be open to the wider public so we can avoid the dreaded jet lag symptoms.

According to the Northwestern University website, the goal is to engineer cells to produce the same peptides that the body makes to regulate sleep cycles, adjusting timing and dose with bioelectronic controls.

When the engineered cells are exposed to light, they will generate precisely dosed peptide therapies.

“This control system allows us to deliver a peptide of interest on demand, directly into the bloodstream,” said Northwestern’s Jonathan Rivnay, principal investigator of the project.

“No need to carry drugs, no need to inject therapeutics and — depending on how long we can make the device last — no need to refill the device. It’s like an implantable pharmacy on a chip that never runs out.”

Let’s hope it’s available in time for our post-COVID jaunts.

Featured image source: iStock/Hispanolistic

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