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News Link • Science, Medicine and Technology

A new mathematical model can cut jet-lagged time in half, study says

•, By Deborah Netburn
 And scientists need your help to test it out. 
A research team from the University of Michigan and Yale University has released a free iPhone app that loads a complex, jet-lag conquering model right into your smartphone. You type in your current location and destination as well as what kind of light you will have access to, and the app gives you a schedule of light exposure that should reset your internal clock in the most efficient way.

"These are the fastest schedules that have ever been proposed," said Olivia Walch, a PhD student at the University of Michigan who designed the app, called Entrain. "Our schedule takes what could be 12 days of adjusting down to four."

Entrainment is the scientific term for fully adjusting to a new time zone -- hence the app's name.

The mathematical model was created by Daniel Forger, a biological mathematician who has been studying circadian clocks since the 1990s. A paper describing his research was published Thursday in the journal PLOS Computational Biology. The Entrain app was released the same day.

Forger admits that the schedules his model spits out may sometimes seem counterintuitive, but intuition, he says, is not the point.


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