New Method Found for Reading Your Body’s Clock

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PostWed Aug 29, 2012 4:40 am » by onedirtyrabbit


New Method Found for Reading Your Body’s Clock
August 28, 2012
Are you a morning lark or a night owl? Scientists use that simplified categorization to explain that different people have different internal body clocks, commonly called circadian clocks. Sleep-wake cycles, digestive activities, and many other physiological processes are controlled by these clocks. In recent years, researchers have found that internal body clocks can also affect how patients react to drugs. For example, timing a course of chemotherapy to the internal body time of cancer patients can improve treatment efficacy and reduce side effects.
But physicians have not been able to exploit these findings because determining internal body time is, well, time consuming. It’s also cumbersome. The most established and reliable method requires taking blood samples from a patient hourly and tracking levels of the hormone melatonin, which previous research has tied closely to internal body time.
read more http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/ ... molecules/

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PostWed Aug 29, 2012 4:43 am » by onedirtyrabbit


then from that page led me to here

Waking up from surgery can be disorienting. One minute you're in an operating room counting backwards from 10, the next you're in the recovery ward sans appendix, tonsils, or wisdom teeth. And unlike getting up from a good night's sleep, where you know that you've been out for hours, waking from anesthesia feels like hardly any time has passed. Now, thanks to the humble honeybee (Apis mellifera), scientists are starting to understand this sense of time loss. New research shows that general anesthetics disrupt the social insect's circadian rhythm, or internal clock, delaying the onset of timed behaviors such as foraging and mucking up their sense of direction.

Putting insects to sleep is nothing new. Researchers have used the animals for decades to figure out how anesthetics work, because the drugs elicit the same effects, at the same concentrations, in many different organisms. "You can give the anesthetic to a monkey and a snail, and they'll fall over and stop moving," says study co-author Guy Warman, a chronobiologist at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

The circadian rhythm's daily cycles are also common across organisms. So-called clock genes help regulate the rhythms that make us feel awake during the day and tired at night, while also prompting honeybees to search for nectar at certain times of day. External inputs, such as light, fine-tune those cycles. In our case, they keep us on a roughly 24-hour schedule.

read more http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2 ... tml?ref=hp




then from that page led me to here

Those red-eye flights and all nighters may be leaving their mark in your hair. Researchers have found that hair follicles contain a signature of the 24-hour circadian clock that sets our sleeping habits. The method could one day help track patients with sleep disorders and help evaluate health problems in late-night shift workers.

At one point, researchers thought that the circadian clock was located solely in the brain. But after scientists discovered human circadian clock genes in the late 1990s, they found that the genes were expressed in tissues throughout the body. In experiments with mice, researchers have linked these genes to weight gain and even to the "lost in time" feeling of marijuana use, but they've had a harder time studying them in humans. That's because analyzing these genes relies on invasive methods, such as drawing a person's blood several times a day or excising a small chunk of skin.

Makoto Akashi of Yamaguchi University in Japan and his colleagues sought an easier way to check clock gene activity. They turned to hairs plucked from scalps or beards, which contain cell-rich follicles. When they extracted RNA from these cells, they found that circadian gene activities peaked when volunteers were awake and alert, and it peaked earliest in the volunteer who woke up earliest in the morning.

Next, Akashi and colleagues disrupted the sleep-wake cycle of healthy people: They asked volunteers to sleep in later and later over a 3-week period and to shine a bright light on themselves to mimic sunlight for half an hour after they awoke. At the end of 3 weeks, when the volunteers were waking up about 4 hours later than they used to, the activity of their hair follicle circadian genes had shifted too—but only by about two and a half 2½ hours, the team reports online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

read more http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2 ... tml?ref=hp



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