Saturday, January 29, 2011

Life is On the Clock - And Has Been for a Very Long Time

"Ancient body clock keeps all life on time: studies"
Kate Kelland, editing by Paul Casciato, Health, Edition: US, Reuters (January 26, 2011)

"Scientists have identified the mechanism that controls the internal 24-hour clock of all forms of life -- a finding they say should shed light on some shift work-related problems like diabetes, depression and cancer.

"Researchers from Britain's Cambridge and Edinburgh universities, whose work was published in the journal Nature on Wednesday, said their findings provide important insight into health-related problems linked to people such as nurses, pilots and other shift workers, whose body clocks are disrupted.

"The studies also suggest that the 24-hour circadian clock found in human cells is the same as that found in algae, and dates back millions of years to early life on earth, they said.

"In the first study, Cambridge scientists found for the first time that red blood cells have a 24-hour rhythm.

"This is significant, they explained, because circadian rhythms have always been assumed to be linked to DNA and gene activity -- but, unlike most other cells in the body, red blood cells do not have DNA...."

What the scientists found was that levels of peroxiredoxins - proteins found in just about every living thing on Earth - change on a 24 hour schedule. Whether the organism is exposed to light or not.

Just how these ancient clocks tie in with the rest of our bodies' processes - is still a mystery. But researchers have something specific to look for now.

On a personal note, finding these built-in clocks reminds the Lemming that there's most likely something to the old saying, "early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy and wealthy and wise."

Not, as James Thurber put it, 'early to rise and early to bed makes a man healthy and wealthy and dead.' And that's another topic.


children wall clocks said...

"Life is On the Clock".I like that quote. Makes me realize more that life is precious.

Brian Gill said...

children wall clocks,

Thanks. And, isn't it, though?

Melisa Marzett said...

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