Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Changing Our Clocks: New Research Explores How Our Bodies Keep Time

Date:
February 11, 2008
Source:
NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences
Summary:
Our alarm clocks may spring forward on March 9, but our biological clocks may take longer to adjust. That's because our internal clocks are so tightly wound to many physiological and behavioral processes. Researchers have learned that circadian rhythms--the 24-hour cycles that keep our bodies on time--are involved in sleep, weight gain, mood disorders, and a variety of diseases. Now, they've made remarkable strides in identifying genes and neural pathways involved in regulating our internal clocks. Building on this bed of research could lead to new treatments for insomnia, jet lag, depression, obesity, and other disorders.

Our alarm clocks may spring forward on March 9, but our biological clocks may take longer to adjust. That’s because our internal clocks are so tightly wound to many physiological and behavioral processes.

Related Articles


Researchers have learned that circadian rhythms—the 24-hour cycles that keep our bodies on time—are involved in sleep, weight gain, mood disorders, and a variety of diseases. Now, they’ve made remarkable strides in identifying genes and neural pathways involved in regulating our internal clocks. Building on this bed of research could lead to new treatments for insomnia, jet lag, depression, obesity, and other disorders.

Recent advances in circadian rhythms research follow. The National Institute of General Medical Sciences, a component of the National Institutes of Health, supported these basic research studies and supports others on circadian rhythms research.

Gaining Weight? Check Your Internal Time

Recent findings suggest that circadian rhythms are intricately tied to weight gain. When Carla Green and her collaborators at the University of Virginia fed high-fat diets to mice with and without a protein involved in circadian rhythms, they found that the mice lacking the protein gained only a modest amount while the mice with the protein nearly doubled their body weight. The findings suggest that circadian rhythms regulate metabolic processes involved in diet-induced weight gain.

Clock in a Box

Carl Johnson and colleagues at Vanderbilt University have reconstituted a circadian clock in vitro using three proteins. The synthetic clock follows a 24-hour rhythm, and it maintains this cycle over a range of temperatures—a defining, but poorly understood characteristic of circadian rhythms. The advance offers an unprecedented opportunity to study the mechanisms of internal clocks, the role of temperature in regulating daily cycles, and even the evolution of human circadian rhythms.

Single Change Starts the Clock

In a surprising finding, Paolo Sassone-Corsi of the University of California-Irvine and colleagues found that a single amino acid change in a protein triggers a chain of genetic events involved in internal timekeeping. If the modification is impaired, it could disrupt the cascade and serve as the underpinning of circadian rhythms-related ailments. The amino acid also could be a novel target for drug compounds regulating body clocks.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences. "Changing Our Clocks: New Research Explores How Our Bodies Keep Time." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080208162238.htm>.
NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences. (2008, February 11). Changing Our Clocks: New Research Explores How Our Bodies Keep Time. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080208162238.htm
NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences. "Changing Our Clocks: New Research Explores How Our Bodies Keep Time." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080208162238.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) A study from University of Michigan researchers found that expectant fathers see a decrease in testosterone as the baby's birth draws near. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

UN: Up to One Million Facing Hunger in Ebola-Hit Countries

AFP (Dec. 17, 2014) Border closures, quarantines and crop losses in West African nations battling the Ebola virus could lead to as many as one million people going hungry, UN food agencies said on Wednesday. Duration: 00:52 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins