Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Circadian Brain Clock

Have you ever experienced jet lag? Maybe you’ve worked the night shift for a period of time? If so, you may have found your internal clock became disrupted. Unfortunately, individuals who work shifts that alter the normal 24-hour cycle of waking and sleeping are at higher risk for a number of diseases, including metabolic disorders such as diabetes. An article in the Journal Nature reported on studies done to learn more about the body’s internal clock—or clocks. It appears that in mammals, circadian timing is done by a master clock in the brain. But there are additional clocks in some other body organs. The master clock in the brain, that determines sleep-wake cycles, appears to be set by light. Satchidananda Panda, co-author and associate professor in Salk’s Regulatory Biology Laboratory, reported the study showed how cellular metabolism is tied to daylight cyclesm which in term is determined by the movements of the sun and the earth. “Now we want to find ways of leveraging this mechanism to fix a person’s metabolic rhythms when they are disrupted by travel, shift work, or sleep disorders.”

No comments: