Thursday, 24 May, 2018


New study links body clock to mood disorders

GettyImages-649730480 Disruption of daily rhythms linked to mental health problems
Patty Aguilar | 16 May, 2018, 22:59

Those who took part had their activity levels monitored over a week.

Smith said, 'It's not just what you do at night, it's what you do during the day - trying to be active during the day and inactive in darkness, ' he said.

Previous research has identified associations between body clock disruption and mental health, but these were typically based on self reports of activity and sleeping patterns, had small sample sizes, or adjusted for few potential cofounders.

The results of the study revealed that the people who had a disrupted body clock were more likely to get the symptoms for major bipolar disorder and depression.

They were also more likely to feel lonely and less happy. The work was funded by a Lister Prize Fellowship to Professor Smith.

Our internal body clocks regulate every biological process in our bodies such as eating, our blood pressure, and sleeping.

Long-term night-shift work has previously been associated with an increased risk of cancer, heart disease and obesity.

Disruption of the body's internal clock linked with mood disorders and adverse wellbeing [press release]. They plan to investigate this next.

For the latest study, researchers analysed activity data on 91,105 people to measure their daily rest-activity rhythms (also known as relative amplitude).

A study of 91,000 people found following your body's natural clock is vital to stay mentally healthy.

In addition to increased risk of depression and bipolar disorder, lower relative amplitude was also associated with low subjective ratings of happiness and health satisfaction, with higher risk of reporting loneliness, and with slower reaction time (an indirect measure of cognitive ability).

Writing in a linked Comment, Dr Aiden Doherty from the University of Oxford in the UK agrees: "Although the UK Biobank is one of the most important medical resources worldwide, the study population (median age at baseline of 62 years, IQR 54-68 years) is not ideal to examine the causes of mental health, given that 75% of disorders start before the age of 24 years".

He added it is advisable to avoid activities that disturb the circadian rhythm after 10pm, but that activities during the day were just as important, giving the example of being outside in the morning during the winter months.

'It might be that the UK Biobank provides the impetus for a resource of a similar scale in adolescents and younger adults to help transform our understanding of the causes and consequences, prevention and treatment of mental health disorders'.

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