Circadian Rhythm and Us
The eyes aren’t just about sight. They also play an important role in our internal biological clock.
The light signal finds it way to the retina and then goes to a region of the hypothalamus zone, colorfully called the suprachiasmatic nucleus. But what does it do? Well, it’s a kind of circadian rhythm generator; simply put, it synchronizes the ticks of the biological clock. Its neurons adjust to light information from the outside world.
And now the most interesting thing – with the breakdown of this mechanism, the internal work rhythm of the organism ceases to respond (or adjust, if you will) to the daily rhythm of the planet. Then people start to nod off randomly during the day, which is terrible for work and other societal demands.
It’s nothing more than fallout from the 24-hour cycle. 70% of completely blind people suffer from this problem, as every third blind person retains the retinal neurons necessary for the operation of the biological clock, but it’s clear that now it’s increasingly affecting the sighted.
The biological clock is connected to all the other systems of the organism. Understanding this fact leads to the further understanding that effectiveness of a disease’s treatment, in some cases, depends on the time of day.
And now to the latest Nobel Prize in medicine – scientists were awarded for some already relatively old experiments conducted on fruit flies.
They can not only infest your apartment, but also serve the scientific community. These scientists (all very old by now), finally finding world recognition, were interested in these circadian rhythms.
It wasn’t clear how these daily mechanisms worked until 1984 when a triad of winners singled out a special gene, in addition to a protein that triggers the work of the gene.
Don’t yawn out of boredom yet – this discovery covers important themes that apply to everyone, like dreams and wakefulness.
For more than a century, in the history of the Nobel Prize, this is pretty much the first to concern sleep. Given the kinda frightening circumstance that we, at say 90 years old, will spend about 30 of those years sleeping, let’s agree that it’s good to know something about it.
(to be continued)
Joke of the week:
Odessa: A 6-year-old Jewish boy comes to school. At his placement interview, he is asked how many seasons are there in a year. The child thinks for a minute and confidently says, “Six!”
The director tactfully hints, “Are you sure?”
The child stops for a moment and says, “Honestly I don’t remember any more… Six!”
The director looks expressively at the boy’s red-faced mother, coughs, and sends them away. There, the mom indignantly asks the boy, “What was that about?”
“Mama,” he replies with tears in his eyes, “I really don’t remember any “seasons” except for Vivaldi, Haydn, Piazzolla, Tchaikovsky, Glazunov, and the improvisations of Jacques Loussier!”