One of the problems of the aged is getting a good night’s sleep. Often, the elderly sleep fitfully through the night only to be overcome by drowsiness during the day and nodding off then. A general feeling of tiredness and irritability goes hand-in-hand with this condition. Now a biologist at Washington University in St. Louis and colleagues from France and the University of Virginia have found this problem may be traced to a faulty biological clock — at least in aged rats. Erik Herzog, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology at Washington University, examined cells involved in the generation of circadian rhythms — the 24-hour cycles in things like alertness and hormone levels. In collaboration with Fabienne Aujard, D.V.M., Ph.D., of France’s Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, and Gene Block, Ph.D., professor of biology at the University of Virginia, Herzog found that the electrical activity of the clock cells in aged rats was not regular compared with that of young and middle-aged rats.
The above story is based on materials provided by Washington University In St. Louis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
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