Is there a magic recipe against jetlag?

January 17, 2011 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE

I had just the longest cross-continental travel of the life, covering about 18,000 kilometers with 2 stops in 2 different continents, not to mention how many different time zones. The time difference between my place of departure and my destination was exactly 12 hours. Thus, I didn’t even have to reset my analog watch. Yet, the long trip from Auckland to Zurich via Sydney and Dubai played havoc with my biological clock, not to mention those of my 7-year olds twins. You see, this completely switched our day and night rhythm. We literally travelled back in time and “gained” 12 hours in the process.

The final result is – severe jet lag. Over the years, I have searched to the perfect recipe to get rid of jet lag fast. I’ve never found it yet though there are lots of resources giving tips on how to minimize the effects of time change. Recommendations range from dietary tactics to light therapy to medications. Here are some of the tips I found useful and effective.

  • Sleep as much as possible on the flight. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work for me. Fortunately, it does for my husband and my kids.
  • Drink plenty of liquids but avoid alcohol. Water is the best for staying hydrated. Alcohol should be avoided even though people can’t resist the free booze offered on continental flights.

Here are some I have strategies I have developed myself after years of intercontinental travel experience, especially with kids:

  • Set your watch according to the time of your final destination. Do this as soon as your board the plane. This will help you get use to the mindset, not to mention the time zone you’ll be going to.
  • Take it easy on the first day. Do not plan activities that would necessitate strenuous physical activity or arduous mental functioning. You wouldn’t be able to perform normally. And avoid driving, if possible.
  • Going back to the normal daily routine helps ease jet lag. When we were down under, it took almost 4 days for our biological clocks, most especially those of the kids, to adjust. Sleeping in and sightseeing were not part of our daily routine back home. When we got back, however, it took only 1 day for the kids to adjust, basically because they had to go back to school right on the day after arrival. They were back to their normal routine. It was the same for me, too. The only day-after effect I felt was a short episode of drowsiness after lunch and an urgent need for an early bedtime.

Tick tock goes the male biological clock

February 18, 2010 by  
Filed under INFERTILITY

Tick tock tick tock. As soon we women reach the age of 30, we hear the biological ticking away as we try to hold on to our fertility just for another while. But what about men? Don’t they have a biological clock to listen to?

I mean, look at the following oldies celebrity dads who fathered kids beyond their 60th birthday:

  • David Letterman, at age 61
  • Donald Trump, 62
  • Sylvester Stallone, 62
  • Rod Stewart, 63
  • Michael Douglas, 64
  • Mick Jagger, 65
  • Hugh Hefner, 65
  • Paul McCartney, 66
  • Clint Eastwood 66.
  • Sir Michael John Gambon, 68
  • Woody Allen, 73
  • Charlie Chaplin, 73
  • Larry King, 75
  • Anthony Quinn, 81

Surely for men, age doesn’t matter for fertility.

However, there is increasing evidence that this is not the case, and that men too, should listen to the ticking clock starting at midlife. Researchers report that the sperm quality of men decreases with age, and that fertility starts to wane when they reach the 30s, and plummets when they reach their 40s. During the time, the overall chance of fathering a child drastically decreases. And if a pregnancy is ever achieved, the likelihood of miscarriage is increased. In addition, the resulting offspring would have a higher likelihood to suffer from genetically related disorders such as autism, schizophrenia, autism and low IQ. This is according to a study by researchers at the Eylau Centre for Assisted Reproduction in Paris, France who looked at more than 1,200 couples.

So what’s reason behind the male biological clock?

Researchers think it is due to some kind of “sperm decay” which is characterized by DNA damage and abnormalities. Men start producing sperms at puberty at a rate of 100 million new sperms per day. During the process, DNA is copied and duplication from one sperm to another. During the countless sperm-copying processes, mistakes occur and DNA mutations happen. These errors accumulate with age, leading to decreasing sperm quality.

According to fertility specialist Dr. Carl Herbert

“These subtle copying defects cause a long list of diseases in the children of older fathers. Lesch Nyhan syndrome, polycystic kidney disease and hemophilia A are among the most well known. For fathers over age 40, the risk of having a child with a disease-causing mutation is similar to the risk the mother has for a child with Down syndrome.”

Aside from age, other health factors, including body weight and diabetes, can also adversely affect sperm quality.

According to Dr. Harry Fisch, urologist at Columbia University, and author of the book The Male Biological Clock

“…couples are waiting longer to have children, and advances in reproductive technology are allowing older men and women to consider having children. The lack of appreciation among both medical professionals and the lay public for the reality of a male biological clock makes these trends worrisome.”

He further advises older dads to “have a thorough history and physical examination focused on their sexual and reproductive capacity. Such examination should entail disclosure of any sexual dysfunction and the use of medications, drugs, or lifestyle factors that might impair fertility or sexual response.”

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.