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The Incredible Shrinking Brain

Jet lag actually does that

You may be paying a higher price for international travel than you realize.

According to new research, part of the brain actually shrinks when people suffer from jet lag. And, the more the jet lag, the greater the shrinkage, reports this article from the BBC News.

The researchers, from the University of Bristol, studied 20 female airline employees who regularly flew across seven time zones. They found that the more jet-lagged the employees were, the smaller their temporal lobes became.

It isn't known whether this condition corrects itself once the traveler no longer feels jet-lagged.

The researchers also suspect this phenonenom could occur in people who work odd shifts and upset their natural circadian rhythms -- sleep patterns.

"It's interesting because we think of jet lag as a kind of nuisance, but this study would suggest that it may have more serious consequences," says Robert Sack, from the Sleep Disorders Medicine Clinic in Portland, Ore.

There are ways to lessen jet lag's effects, according to this article from the Mayo Clinic. Use earplugs and eyeshades to help you sleep while traveling. And, start preparing three days before you travel by going to bed earlier when you're traveling east or later when you're heading west.

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