Arthur, S.K.; Evans, D.F.; Farrand, P.; Yazaki, E.
April 2003
Gut;Apr2003 Supplement 1, Vol. 52, pA85
Academic Journal
Introduction: Circadian rhythms for protein transcription have recently been identified in the gut? Environmental synchronizers may reset biological clocks, leading to alteration in gut functions, but alteration in bowel transit due to time zone shifts experienced in long haul flight is yet to be reported. Methods: Six men (Age 33.2 +/- 10.6 years) and 3 women (36.7 +/- 7.2) (mean +/- 1 SD) flew from London to California, USA, and back. As a pre-condition to joining the study, they were on no drugs for digestive diseases. We elicited responses pre-, in-, and post-flight and during foreign stay about their bowel habit, stool form scale and abdominal symptoms using validated questionnaires. Paired t-tests were used to examine significant changes in sleep and stool form scale from the pre-flight level. Stool form scale may be used as o guide to intestinal transit time. Results: Sleep duration and times pre-flight, during foreign stay and post flight were not significantly different (p > 0.05). Additionally, there was no reason to believe that the stool changes were attributable to a drastic change in diet. Abdominal symptoms were unremarkable and did not change during foreign stay or on return home from abroad. All our subjects were normal and had an uneventful stay abroad. Average stool consistency changed significantly (p < 0.01) from a lumpy to smooth consistency to a smooth to soft consistency during foreign stay and persisted 4-5 days into post-flight. The respective stool form sca[es were pre-flight 2.8 +/- 1.0, foreign stay 3.5 +/-1.1, post-flight 3.7 +/-1.2. Summary and Conclusion: During a time zone shift of +/- 8h, while the sleep clock was synchronized with the external chock, gut transit, as measured by the stool form scale, failed to synchronize with the external clock, leading to altered bowel habit. Biologic clocks that regulate gut functions may not adapt as readily to time shifts, as does the sleep clock.


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