These clocks, which govern us

Ces horloges qui nous gouvernent

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We know for many years that our body is under the effect of a biological clock. We now know that it is not only to run the many mechanisms of the human body.

We are obsessed with the weather. But we are not the only ones. Our billions of cells are also under the effect of a timer which regulates our body as a clock. Welcome to the world of chronobiology.

We know for many years that our body is under the effect of a biological clock. We now know that it is not only to run the many mechanisms of the human body.

“In fact, we have clocks everywhere in our body. Almost all of our organs, all our cells have a circadian clock, ” says Nicolas Cermakian, laboratory of molecular chronobiology, Douglas Institute and McGill University. Hence, there are billions of clocks that synchronize on a daily basis in our every plots.

This discovery led to the Nobel prize for medicine in 2017, which has lifted the veil on the mysterious molecular mechanisms of these clocks.

The more incredible : these cycles would be inherent in our body. “If we were in a room without a window and without any indication of what time it is, we will continue to have rhythms of approximately 24 hours. This means that there is something in our body which dictates the time, ” says the one who is also president of the canadian Society of chronobiology.

Race against the clock

The experiments carried out by the Frenchman Michel Siffre, are eloquent on this subject. 130 meters under the earth, without a time index and isolated from external light for more than two months, the geologist continued to maintain a cycle of wakefulness and sleep approximately 24 hours.

In fact, the hands of our clock move a little more slowly than the time dictated by our environment. On a daily basis, it takes about 15 minutes late. Each morning, the light of the day has the effect of reverse our shows inner 15 minutes.

In Chasing the Sun, a book published last January, the author Linda Geddes insists on the importance of exposure to natural light and to synchronize with the sun rather than the time dictated by your watch.

“Our biology follows roughly the pace of sunshine. However, the company instead uses references to the time influenced by political and historical factors “, she said. As an example, it cited this move to the time each spring and then back in the fall for the sake of economy of energy, and since 1918 in the United States.

A single hour can have such a great influence on our internal clocks ? The chronobiologiste German Till Roenneberg talking about a real jet lag social in the days following the change to daylight savings time. Therefore, it is normal to experience some difficulties to come back.

The sleep cycle

If the sleep cycle is the rhythm the most obvious to observe, it is far from being the only one to depend on network time. In fact, our body is synchronized with thousands of other circadian rhythms.

“You could name practically any function of our body and one way or another, it would be variable depending on the time of day and night “, adds the professor Cermakian.

For example, our ability to metabolize food is different depending on the time of day. This could explain why the Spanish and Italians soupent too late. When eating at 22 h, and their metabolism works like ours would work at 19: 30.

Our immune system would also be variable depending on the time of year and time of day. A study conducted in 2016 has shown that receiving the flu vaccine in the morning, allowed to produce four times more antibodies than any other time.

Our biology follows roughly the pace of sunshine. However, the company instead uses references to the time influenced by political and historical factors.

— Linda Geddes

 

By choosing wisely the time of administration of a drug, it could increase the efficiency. This is what is called chronotherapeutics. So far, it is mainly for anti-cancer drugs that we see the most interesting developments.

Because, in addition to increasing the positive response to the treatment, this could at the same time reduce the side effects that are often very unpleasant for the patient.

Would there be an optimal time to treat the cancer ? “Unfortunately, there is no single answer. It depends on the type of cancer, the therapy and its mechanisms of action, ” says Nicolas Cermakian.

This medicine circadian, however, is at our doors, he warned. In the next few years, it is possible that the dosage of many drugs indicates the precise time at which to administer it.

Careful not to disrupt its internal clocks. This can have major consequences that go far beyond sleep disorders. This would explain, among other things, why night workers are at greater risk of developing certain diseases such as diabetes, cancer and certain cardiovascular diseases.

However, no one is immune to see the hands of the clock spin. “Nowadays, one no longer sees only light during the day. In the evening, we have the nose glued to our phone or our tablet. There is also lighting in the streets. In addition, we eat at times variables. All of this can affect our internal rhythms, ” says Nicolas Cermakian.

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