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June 13, 2005 | Elena Conis
Melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland, a tiny hormone-producing organ in the brain. Researchers say that, in animals, the hormone helps determine hibernation patterns. In humans, it is responsible for the circadian rhythm -- the biological cycle that dictates when we sleep and wake. It also plays a role in sexual development. * Uses: The hormone is used primarily to fight insomnia and jet lag and, particularly among older adults, improve sleep quality.
January 26, 2004 | Jane E. Allen
The hormone melatonin -- known to influence sleep -- also may lower blood pressure. In a study led by Dr. Frank A.J.L. Scheer, a neurologist at Harvard Medical School, 16 men with untreated hypertension were given 2.5 milligrams of melatonin before bedtime for three weeks. For another three weeks, they received a single dose of melatonin on the first night and placebos the other nights. Their blood pressure was monitored around the clock. In the Jan.
September 22, 2003 | Dianne Partie Lange
Some people with asthma should avoid taking the popular sleep remedy melatonin, researchers have concluded. Scientists at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center and the University of Colorado had found that blood cells make more inflammation-promoting proteins when exposed to melatonin, a hormone that regulates the body's sleep-wake cycle.
January 20, 2003 | Shari Roan
Half of all Americans experience occasional or chronic sleep problems, leading to recent research on the role of the hormone melatonin in the body's sleep cycles -- and consumer demand for synthetic melatonin supplements. But many unknowns remain about their use. Uses: Primarily to fight insomnia or jet lag, but studies on its effectiveness have been mixed. Dose: Experts typically recommend a low dose (0.1 to 0.3 milligrams), with increases as needed.
October 12, 2000
The biological clock of a totally blind person who is unable to see sunlight can go out of sync with the rest of the world, keeping the person awake when the rest of the world is sleeping. Oregon doctors report in today's New England Journal of Medicine that melatonin tablets--sold in health food stores--can reset that internal clock to a normal 24-hour cycle. The normal sleep-wake cycle in both blind and sighted people is longer than 24 hours.
Advertisements that promote the use of melatonin supplements for the elderly are misleading to consumers, according to a new study by Boston researchers. The ads, often seen on TV or in magazines, claim that levels of melatonin--a hormone that helps control the sleep cycle--naturally decline with aging and that the elderly need to replace it with supplements to get a good night's sleep. "Our data do not support this claim," said Dr. Charles A. Czeisler of the Harvard Medical School.
April 26, 1999 | ROSIE MESTEL
Sleep is kind of a theme this week in Health--check out Media Mix on this page for information on books simply stuffed with sleepy facts. Still, we bet that nowhere among all those many pages will you find this novel tip for a more restful night: Forget all that behavior modification and melatonin stuff. Just cover yourself with important-looking electrodes. The downside: You might have to rent a rocket ship to sleep in.
October 22, 1998 | From Associated Press
John Glenn has been dropped from an experiment to test effects of the hormone melatonin on sleep in space, officials said. The test of melatonin, which is linked to sleep, is among three objectives in a sleep-disorder study that involves Glenn and another crew member in a space shuttle flight to be launched next week. The 77-year-old astronaut will continue with the other elements of the sleep study and will conduct about 10 experiments in orbit, officials said Wednesday. Dr. Charles A.
August 16, 1998 | KATHLEEN DOHENY
Trips can be rough on the body, and travelers often complain about gastrointestinal problems, motion sickness and sleep disturbances. The search for relief may lead them to sleeping pills, caffeine, alcohol or over-the-counter medications that can make them feel worse. But herbal medicine experts suggest turning to the produce section or the health-food shelves to find surprisingly simple remedies for travel-related ailments.
February 19, 1998
The month of your birth may determine how tall you are, according to Austrian researchers. A survey they conducted on more than 507,000 Austrian soldiers showed that men born in the spring tend to be taller than those born in the autumn, but they had no explanation yet why that was the case. The researchers compared the heights of the soldiers measured by the Austrian Federal Army throughout a full year, and reported in Nature that they varied periodically by about 0.
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